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In this September 9, 2019 archive photo, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt speaks before the United States Supreme Court in Washington.
In this September 9, 2019 archive photo, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt speaks before the United States Supreme Court in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

In what may be the first state lawsuit against China, Missouri attorney general Eric Schmitt on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Chinese government for the death and economic consequences of Missouri’s coronavirus, according to a statement from the Schmitt’s office.

Lawsuit filed against Chinese government, Chinese Communist Party and other Chinese institutions accusing government of suppressing information, arresting whistleblowers and denying the “contagious nature” of Covid-19, with serious consequences in Missouri.

“COVID-19 has caused irreparable damage to countries around the world, causing disease, death, economic disruption and human suffering. In Missouri, the impact of the virus is very real – thousands of people have been infected and many have died, families have been separated from their dying loved ones, small businesses are closing, and those living on paychecks are having a hard time putting food on their tables, “said Schmitt’s statement. “The Chinese government has lied to the world about the danger and the contagious nature of COVID-19, which has silenced the whistleblowers and has done little to stop the spread of the disease. They must be held accountable for their acts. ”

The lawsuit has been filed with the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and alleges that “during the critical weeks of the initial epidemic, Chinese authorities deceived the public, suppressed critical information, arrested whistleblowers, denied transmission Human face in the face of mounting evidence, destroying critical medical research, allowing millions of people to be exposed to the virus, and even amassing personal protective equipment – thereby causing a world pandemic that was unnecessary and preventable. “

The lawsuit alleges that Chinese authorities have done little to contain the spread of the virus despite knowledge of the disease. He also alleged that the government denied the potential for human-to-human transmission when it informed the World Health Organization of the epidemic, despite evidence of such transmission.

“The trial notes the immense negative impact that COVID-19 has had on Missourians, highlighting the unprecedented number of jobless claims, the impact on Missouri’s unemployment rate and the impact on the state budget , now and in the future. On the human side – Missouri nurses and doctors are forced to quarantine their families, our elderly citizens are trapped in nursing homes far from loved ones, and more ” , the statement said, adding: “The trial seeks redress for one count of public nuisance, one count of abnormally dangerous activity and two counts of default. Remedies could include civil penalties and restitution, reduction public nuisance, the cessation of abnormally dangerous activities, punitive damages, etc. ”

Missouri has at least 6,105 cases of the virus and at least 229 related deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

CNN has contacted the Chinese government for comment.

Legal experts said the trial was facing a difficult battle as China is protected by sovereign immunity.

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