Men wearing suits are seen smoking on the sidewalk in Manhattan's ChinatownImage copyright
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There are rising reports of verbal and physical attacks on Asian Americans

US President Donald Trump – under fire for labelling Covid-19 the “Chinese virus” – has said Asian Americans should not be blamed for the outbreak.

He said it is “very important that we totally protect” Asian Americans, whom he praised as “amazing people”.

Mr Trump spoke out amid rising reports of verbal and physical attacks on the community amid the pandemic.

Coronavirus is still spreading in the US, which currently has over 42,000 confirmed cases and 533 deaths.

At a White House coronavirus task force news conference on Monday, Mr Trump said: “It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States and all around the world.

“They’re amazing people and the spreading of the virus is not their fault in any way, shape or form.

“They’re working closely with us to get rid of it – we will prevail together.”

A recent study from San Francisco State University found a 50% rise in news articles reporting coronavirus-related discrimination against Asian Americans.

Mr Trump also signed an executive order on Monday to fight hoarding and price gouging of essential goods.

Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote on Twitter: “We will not let those hoarding vital supplies & price gougers to harm the health of America in this hour of need.”

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