White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the deadly China coronavirus should have "minimal impact" on the American economy.
"This is a Chinese pandemic," Kudlow told Fox Business Network late Wednesday.
Kudlow admitted "China has a serious, serious public health problem," but insisted the United States wants to "help them work through it."
"We are going to do everything we can as Americans and American governments, certainly, to help them solve this as rapidly as possible," Kudlow said.
Infection from China's coronavirus spread to more than 8,100 people globally on Thursday, surpassing the total from the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic in a fast-spreading health crisis forecast to deal a heavy blow to the world's second-largest economy, Reuters reported.
The vast majority of infections are in China where the virus originated in an illegal wildlife market in the city of Wuhan and has also claimed 170 lives, latest official data showed.
More than 100 cases have emerged in other countries, from Japan to the United States.
The World Health Organization (WHO), which has so far held off declaring the flu-like coronavirus a global emergency, began another meeting in Geneva to reconsider.
The veteran financial guru and former Ronald Reagan adviser also said the U.S. would send experts to China to help the nation contain the outbreak of coronavirus that has killed at least 169 people and infected thousands.
“We are sending our best experts from CDC to help them,” Kudlow told reporters on Wednesday, referring to the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The Chinese invited us to do so,” Kudlow was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.
"We're happy to do it," Kudlow said. "It's part of our engagement with China. We want to help out in any way we can. We have a lot of smart people that know how to deal with these public health issues, so we are going to send over a batch of CDC experts."
Kudlow stressed that the White House isn’t going to use its aide as leverage in the ongoing trade negotiations for "phase two" of the U.S.-China trade deal.
"I don't want to mix these; I don't want to conflate these subjects," Kudlow explained. "We want to save lives if we can and help them to get through this virus pandemic as soon as possible. That's it. It's a standalone issue."
Asked whether the White House is considering restricting flights to China, Kudlow said, “there’s a lot of discussions going on one way or another.”
“To a large extent, common sense prevails here. We’re not flying to Wuhan,” the Chinese province where the outbreak is thought to have originated. “And, in terms of our flights, China themselves have said they want blanket restrictions on flights to the United States and elsewhere to try to contain it, so I don’t want to get ahead of any of that, I don’t want to suggest anything.”
In a separate statement on Wednesday, White House spokesman Judd Deere said “the U.S. and China are in close coordination on the coronavirus and protecting the public health of both countries. The president appreciates President Xi’s cooperation.”
Material from Bloomberg and Reuters has been used in this report.
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