US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has been accused of racism by referring to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus”, and now the deputy mayor of Basingstoke has said she thinks the term is “fair”.

In a conversation with Cllr Onnalee Cubitt in which she was asked to comment on accusations made about various tweets she posted or liked; the deputy mayor told the Gazette: “We called the Spanish flu Spanish. I think it’s fair to call it the Chinese virus. If you want to call someone a racist for calling a virus Chinese…”

Cllr Cubitt was defending a tweet she liked posted by Donald Trump referring to Covid-19 as “a very bad “gift” from China”.

The World Health Organisation has advised against using terms that link the virus to China to avoid stigmatisation.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Basingstoke Gazette:

Cllr Cubitt attacked the Gazette for publishing her tweets, and said she is entitled to “freedom of speech”.

She added: “The level of journalism is despicable”.

Cllr Cubitt, who has blocked the Gazette from seeing her tweets, said her account is “personal”.

The Gazette pointed out that Mr Trump has been accused of racism for his insistence on calling Covid-19 the “Chinese virus” and that Cllr Cubitt doing the same was therefore in the public interest.

Basingstoke Gazette: Cllr Onnalee Cubitt

Basingstoke Gazette:

Basingstoke Gazette:

Basingstoke Gazette:

She responded: “I have no racist bones in my body. I abhor racism… I do believe it [Covid-19] originated from China. I don’t see it as being offensive I see it as being factual.”

Cllr Cubitt claims the tweets, sent as screen shots as part of the complaint, have been tampered with, and that some of her words have been changed.

This includes one in which she questioned how many Britons flown back by HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) on chartered flights “from the far-flung corners of the earth such as Bangladesh, India and Nigeria tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival?”

Cllr Cubitt said she added to the end: “A bit further than Durham”.

She said: “It’s people flown from high risk countries. They have high infection rates in these countries.”

Asked what the infection rates were in these countries, Cllr Cubitt said she had no idea.

In fact, all three countries have had had fewer Covid-19 deaths than the UK, with 1,695 in Bangladesh, 16,095 in India, and 558 in Nigeria.

She defended her views on postal votes, after voicing her concerns on a tweet by Donald Trump that they lead to “massive fraud and abuse”.

Cllr Cubitt told the Gazette: “I don’t approve of postal votes. I have gone to ministers and said that postal votes should be for people who are extremely ill. It’s open to abuse. When you apply for postal votes you have to put a form in saying you are entitled to vote. You don’t have to prove that you are entitled to vote.”