Missouri sues China for ‘not doing enough’ to stop coronavirus spread

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The state of Missouri is suing the Chinese government over the coronavirus, alleging that nation’s officials are to blame for the global pandemic.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court by the state’s top lawyer, alleges Chinese officials are “responsible for the enormous death, suffering, and economic losses they inflicted on the world, including Missourians”.

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Eric Schmitt, the state’s Republican attorney general, said in a written statement that the Chinese government lied about the dangers of the virus and did not do enough to slow its spread.

“The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of Covid-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease,” he said. “They must be held accountable for their actions.”

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It was unclear whether the lawsuit will have much, if any, impact. US law generally prohibits lawsuits against other countries with few exceptions, said Chimene Keitner, an international law professor at University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

“The legal problem is, it’s just not possible,” said Keitner, who recently wrote a blog titled “Don’t Bother Suing China for Coronavirus”.

Missouri Democratic party executive director, Lauren Gepford, called the lawsuit a “stunt” by a Republican attorney general who is up for re-election this year.

The number of deaths in Missouri rose by 16 on Tuesday to 215, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering. The number of cases rose by 156 to 5,963.