Wuhan has ‘turned the tide’ against virus - Xi | Daily News


 

Wuhan has ‘turned the tide’ against virus - Xi

Chinese President Xi Jinping talks by video with patients and medical workers at the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province, Tuesday. - AFP
Chinese President Xi Jinping talks by video with patients and medical workers at the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province, Tuesday. - AFP

CHINA: Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that Wuhan has turned the tide against the deadly COVID-19 outbreak, as he paid his first visit to the city at the heart of the global epidemic.

Xi’s visit came as unprecedented quarantine measures that have sealed off Wuhan and the rest of central Hubei province since late January appear to have paid off, with new infections dropping dramatically in recent weeks.

During Xi’s trip, Hubei announced it would ease travel restrictions to allow healthy people in low-risk areas to travel throughout the province.

But the measure did not appear to loosen restrictions on Wuhan nor indicate if people could leave the province of 56 million people.

Media also reported that the last of Wuhan’s 16 makeshift hospitals that were converted from public buildings during the worst of the outbreak had closed.

“The spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been basically curbed in Hubei province and its capital city Wuhan,” Xi said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

“Initial success has been made in stabilising the situation and turning the tide in Hubei and Wuhan,” he said. China’s progress against the outbreak stands in stark contrast with the growing global crisis, with cases now growing at a faster pace abroad, and Italy enacting its own nationwide travel restrictions.

State media images showed Xi, who arrived by plane in Hubei’s capital, wearing a face mask as he spoke via video-link from a conference hall to frontline medical workers and patients who are at one of two field hospitals set up in the city.

He then went to a residential community in Wuhan to speak with people quarantined, and community workers.

China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong is usually a daily fixture in state media but he has stayed out of the spotlight for much of the crisis and assigned Premier Li Keqiang to oversee the response to the epidemic.

Hua Po, an independent Beijing-based political analyst, told AFP the trip’s timing indicated an “interim victory” for China.

“His visit is to signal that the outbreak has been effectively curbed, and is an attempt to quieten external criticism of him not going to the frontlines,” said Hao. - AFP


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