‘China owes Germany 149 billion euros in coronavirus damages’

Bild accused Jinping govt of holding up coronavirus information in the early stages

xi test (File) Chinese President Xi Jinping undergoing a thermal test | AP

A major German newspaper has asked China to foot a bill of approximately 149 billion euros, owing to the losses the country suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Joining the ranks of the UK, France and the US in blaming China for the coronavirus pandemic, the German government said the pandemic that killed 1 lakh people in Europe could have been prevented had China disclosed information at the right time.

Germany's largest tabloid newspaper, Bild, put together an itemised invoice for 149 billion euros (130 billion pounds).

Claiming losses suffered by Germany in various sectors that included tourism and manufacturing industries, Bild has demanded compensation.

The list of losses prepared by Bild under the title What China Owes Us include, “27 billion euros for lost tourism revenue, up to 7.2 billion euros for the German film industry, a million euros an hour for German airline Lufthansa and 50 billion euros for German small businesses”. Bild calculated that this amounts to 1,784 euros (1,550 pounds) per person if Germany's GDP falls by 4.2 per cent.

Criticising Beijing in harsh language, Bild accused the Xi Jinping administration of holding up coronavirus information in the early stages.

China dismissed all allegations and responded by saying the Bild invoice "stirs up xenophobia and nationalism”.

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump had warned that China should face consequences if it was “knowingly responsible” for the coronavirus outbreak.

"It could have been stopped in China before it started and it wasn’t, and the whole world is suffering because of it,” said Trump.

Separately, a group of US citizens have launched a signature campaign to initiate a lawsuit in the state of Florida to seek compensation from Beijing for COVID-19 damages.