The deadly corona virus came from China and the US will not take it lightly, said President Donald Trump on Thursday.
"It came from China. We are not happy about it. We just signed a trade agreement, the ink was not dry and suddenly this floated in. We will not take it lightly," said Trump, who attended a listening session with African-American leaders in Michigan.
Trump has been very critical of China's inability to control the spread of the novel corona virus across its territory in recent weeks. As of Thursday, more than 94,000 Americans have died of coronavirus and over 1.6 million have tested positive.
So far, he has given no indication of the steps he intends to take against China.
In the meantime, pressure is growing on his administration, mainly from Republican lawmakers.
On Thursday, Senators Ted Cruz and Rick Scott, along with Mike Braun, Marsha Blackburn, Joni Ernst, Martha McSally, and Tom Cotton, introduced the COVID-19 Vaccine Protection Act to prevent the Chinese Communist Party from preventing American COVID-19 vaccine research steals or sabotages.
The bill requires a thorough national security assessment and clearance by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation of all Chinese student visa holders participating in activities related to COVID-19 vaccine research.
"The same Chinese Communist Party that covered up the Coronavirus outbreak routinely does government-sponsored theft of intellectual property," said Cruz. "We cannot allow China to steal or interfere with American vaccine research and development," he added.
"Communist China is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic, and its lies and misinformation cost Americans their lives," said Scott.
"We cannot let Communist China off the hook, and we absolutely cannot allow Communist China to steal or sabotage American research efforts on the Coronavirus vaccine. The COVID-19 Vaccine Protection Act protects American efforts while we are Work on making a vaccine to end this pandemic, "he added.
The COVID-19 Vaccination Protection Act requires, among other things, an increased screening of Chinese nationals in the United States as non-immigrants on a F, J, or M student visa to determine whether student visa holders pose a national security threat.
Once the review is complete, the Department of Homeland Secretary, in consultation with other agencies, will authorize all non-immigration (F, M, J) visa holders who are Chinese nationals of the United States and employed or accessing the United States, to continuously monitor research into a possible COVID-19 vaccine or COVID-19-related material.
Republican whip and senior member of the selected coronavirus crisis subcommittee Steve Scalise claimed that China lied to the world about coronavirus.
"During a critical period in December and January, China withheld evidence of the virus: evidence that confirmed the virus's spread from person to person, evidence of the extent of the spread. China refused to allow American and other medical experts from around the world to enter for weeks, "he said.
"And during that time, China was hoarding medical supplies such as masks, robes, and other life-saving PPE. Chinese exports of surgical masks, robes, and gloves were suppressed by the Chinese Communist Party at that time. China knew the danger from and while using the virus hiding the truth, they used the time to get essential medical supplies, "said Scalise.
"While the Chinese authorities restricted domestic flights from Wuhan to other Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the Chinese government has urged international airlines to adhere to their flight schedules and spread the virus around the world," he said.