Trump, who faces a difficult reelection fight on Nov 3, has sought to deflect overwhelming voter criticism of his handling of the pandemic by blaming China. Broadcast over a large screen in the UN General Assembly hall, the US president effectively transferred his hawkish campaign stump speech to the global stage. "We must hold accountable the nation that released this plague upon the world," he said.
Trump accused China of only looking after its own interests when the potentially lethal virus first appeared in the city of Wuhan late last year. And he said "the Chinese government, and the World Health Organization - which is virtually controlled by China - falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission". "Later, they falsely said people without symptoms would not spread the disease," he added.