CHINESE PRESIDENT SEES A VICTORY AGAINST CORONAVIRUS
Coronavirus ‘victory in sight’ for Wuhan as Xi Jinping visits front line
- President Xi encourages medical staff and patients to be confident the epidemic will be overcome during tour of city at centre of outbreak
- Several indicators emerged on Tuesday to suggest Wuhan’s containment measures are paying off
– as state media assured the public that “victory was near”.
Among his first stops was the military-operated hospital Huoshenshan – one of two specially built facilities which were constructed at speed to deal with the outbreak – where he encouraged doctors, nurses and patients to be confident that the epidemic would be overcome.
The announcement of Xi’s visit was closely followed by numerous articles highlighting China’s growing success in containing the coronavirus. A commentary run by state news agency Xinhua underscored Wuhan’s importance as a “decisive” place in the country’s battle against the virus.
“A victory in Wuhan is a victory for Hubei, a victory in Hubei is a victory for China,” the commentary said, repeating a phrase that has been used previously in official party media. “The battle continues, but victory is near,” said another commentary published by Xinhua on Tuesday morning.
State media reported that during his visit to Wuhan, Xi “would inspect the prevention and control work” in the city and visit medical workers, military commanders, community workers, public security officers, grass-roots and frontline cadres, as well as volunteers, patients and residents.
Also on Tuesday, the last of Wuhan’s 14 makeshift hospitals – converted from sports stadiums and convention centres – was closed, in a further sign the outbreak in the city was now largely under control.
Ying also urged officials to start planning for business in the province to return to normal.
Professor Zhu Lijia, from the Chinese Academy of Governance, said Xi’s visit to Wuhan marked the Chinese leadership’s belief that “major progress has been made and a fundamental turning point has been achieved in China’s coronavirus battle”.
A cumulative total of 80,754 confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been reported in China to date, with 49,965 in Wuhan alone. The national death toll surged to 3,136, with 17 new deaths as of midnight Tuesday. More than two-thirds of China’s fatalities were in Wuhan.
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