The Democratic Party-led US House of Representatives has passed a resolution condemning "all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to Covid-19".
The resolution was passed by a 243-164 vote yesterday, with 14 Republicans joining their Democratic colleagues, reports Xinhua news agency.
Spearheaded by Democratic congresswoman Grace Meng of New York, the resolution argued against connecting the virus with a specific geographic location, citing warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Asian-Americans have been forced to endure demeaning and disgusting acts of bigotry and hate, consisting of everything from verbal assaults to physical attacks," Meng said in a statement after the resolution was passed.
"The House needed to take a strong and public stand against this appalling intolerance, discrimination, and violence that has taken place all across the country during this public health crisis, and today it did just that," she added.
The resolution called on "all public officials to condemn and denounce any and all anti-Asian sentiment in any form" and says that "use of anti-Asian terminology and rhetoric related to Covid-19, such as the 'Chinese Virus', 'Wuhan Virus', and 'Kung-flu' have perpetuated anti-Asian stigma".
Indian-American Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi said on the House floor that "this is deeply personal and offensive to me".
"When people, including those in the White House, refer to Covid-19 as the Chinese virus or the Kung-flu, they encourage bigotry and discrimination against Asian-Americans," the Illinois Democrat added
Ahead of the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: "Sadly this bigotry is being fueled by some in Washington, and you would think, I thought this would be almost unanimous consent to condemn violence against Asian-Americans. Even from the White House itself, which uses dangerous, false, and offensive terms to describe the coronavirus.
"The WHO and the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, have explicitly warned against linking infectious diseases to specific ethnicities because of the stigmatizing effects, which has serious impacts on health and defeating the virus.
"As the CDC medical officer has said, stigma is the enemy of public health."
Republicans, for their part, blamed the Democrats for introducing what they said was a non-binding resolution at a time when political gridlock on Capitol Hill continued to impede the passage of a new coronavirus relief bill..