China’s foreign ministry has criticised as “too unkind” US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ statement that the rapidly spreading coronavirus will accelerate the return of jobs from China to the United States. “The United States acted in a diametrically opposite way right after the World Health Organisation’s declaration to oppose any move to close borders with China or restrict Chinese travellers’ access, which is too unkind and has set a very bad example [for other countries to follow],” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday. “A friend in need is a friend indeed. Many countries are helping China fight with the contagion through different means. In contrast, the words and deeds of the US are neither in line with the facts nor even appropriate,” she said. During an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo on Thursday, Ross said the coronavirus “does give businesses yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain” and “companies will need to look elsewhere after halting operations in China”. “I think it will help accelerate the return of jobs to North America, some to the US, probably some to Mexico as well,” he said. Hua said China was sharing data and information about the deadly coronavirus with the international community, including the US, in a “transparent, responsible, and timely manner”. The virus that started in the central China city of Wuhan has killed 213 people, all in mainland China, and sickened at least 9,934 worldwide. The diagnosed number of cases has far exceeded that of the 2002-03 Sars epidemic, which killed almost 800 people worldwide. The confirmed cases are mostly concentrated in China. At least 122 have been confirmed in at least 21 other countries. The US has advised its citizens against travelling to China because of the rapidly spreading virus. “Travellers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. Commercial carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China,” said a travel advisory issued by the US. Those already in China are advised to consider departing. The US State Department has requested that all non-essential US government personnel defer travel to China. Several countries have already repatriated their citizens from Wuhan or are making pans to do so. Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.