COVID-19 is communist China’s “biggest health emergency“: Xi

“It has the fastest transmission, widest range of infection and has been the most difficult to prevent and control,” Mr. Xi said at a meeting

February 23, 2020 05:36 pm | Updated February 25, 2020 05:38 pm IST - Beijing/Wuhan

President Xi Jinping on Sunday said the COVID-19 epidemic is China’s “largest public health emergency” as the death toll from the deadly virus climbed to 2,442 and the number of infections hit almost 77,000 in the country.

President Xi, who attended a meeting here to double efforts in coordinating the prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak, said the epidemic “has the fastest transmission, widest range of infection and has been the most difficult to prevent and control“.

In comments reported by state broadcaster CCTV, Mr. Xi said, “This is a crisis for us and it is a big test.” He called the epidemic China’s “largest public health emergency“.

The meeting, in the form of tele-conference, was presided over by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Mr. Xi acknowledged that the epidemic will “inevitably have a large impact on the economy and society”, but he said the effects will be “short-term” and controllable.

Chinese health officials in worst-hit COVID-19 hit Wuhan city ordered 14 days’ quarantine for all recovered patients following reports that some of them tested positive for the virus after recovery.

Ninety-seven more people died in China due to COVID-19, taking the death toll to 2,442, officials said on Sunday, as a team of WHO experts visited the worst-affected Wuhan city in Hubei province.

By the end of Saturday, 76,936 confirmed cases of novel COVID-19 infection had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said in its daily update on Sunday.

Ninety-six deaths were reported from Hubei province for which Wuhan is the provincial capital and one from Guangdong province on Saturday besides 648 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections, it said.

Hubei province, where the virus first emerged in December last, reported 630 new confirmed cases, taking the total confirmed cases in the hard-hit province to 64,084, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Officials in Wuhan ordered that all patients who have recovered and discharged from hospitals be sent to designated places for two weeks of quarantine and medical observation.

So far 15,299 people who were cured of the virus have been discharged from the hospitals in Wuhan. But they were all asked to go for two-week quarantine after some of them tested positive after being discharged from hospitals, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

Hubei province on Saturday reported 630 new confirmed cases of the virus infection and 96 new deaths on Saturday, the provincial health commission said Sunday.

The latest report brought the total confirmed cases in the hard-hit province to 64,084.

Wuhan, the provincial capital reported 541 new confirmed cases and 82 new deaths on Saturday. In total, the city has registered 46,201 confirmed cases and 1,856 deaths.

Among the 40,127 hospitalised patients, 8,583 were still in severe condition and another 1,845 in critical condition.

The commission also said Hubei had 3,363 suspected cases.

The viral outbreak, believed to have originated in a wild-animal market in Wuhan, has infected more than 78,000 people globally.



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