United States President Donald Trump has labelled the deadly coronavirus as his opponents' "new hoax" in a rally on Saturday.
The President was speaking at a campaign event in South Carolina when he accused the Democrats of politicising the coronavirus, comparing it to the way his opponents attempted to use an investigation into Trump's connection with Russia as well as his impeachment to try and bring him down.
"One of my people came up to me and said, 'Mr President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.' That did not work out too well. They could not do it. They tried the impeachment hoax."
He then said that coronavirus was "their new hoax" before mentioning how his administration's "early" response to the virus had limited its spread in the United States. One of those measures was to ban individuals from entering the country if they had been in China in the past 14 days - similarly to what New Zealand has done.
"We did something that was pretty amazing. We have 15 people in this massive country. Because of the fact we went early, we went early, we could have a lot more than that, we are doing great."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are 62 people in the United States with coronavirus. Fifteen of these were detected and tested in the US through its public health system, plus there are an additional 47 who caught the illness overseas and have since been repatriated to the United States. Only one patient remains in hospital.
Democrats have been critical of the Trump administration's response, saying it is requesting too little money from Congress to fight the illness. The President has put vice-President Mike Pence in charge of the response.
There have been two cases of coronavirus in the United States with no known origin.
More than 82,000 people worldwide have the illness - the vast majority from China - while about 2700 people have died.