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China's Xi pays first visit to virus epicenter Wuhan: State media

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Beijing, China   /   Tue, March 10, 2020   /   10:52 am
China's Xi pays first visit to virus epicenter Wuhan: State media Medical staff celebrate after all patients were discharged at a temporary hospital set up to treat people with the COVID-19 coronavirus in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on March 9, 2020. - China closed most of its makeshift hospitals for coronavirus patients, some schools reopened and Disney resort staff went back to work on March 9 as normality slowly returns to the country after weeks battling the epidemic. ( AFP/STR)

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Wuhan on Tuesday for his first visit to the epicenter of the country's coronavirus epidemic since the crisis erupted in January.

Xi's unannounced visit comes 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.

The Communist Party leader arrived by plane in Hubei's capital for an "inspection of the epidemic prevention and control work" in the region, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

He will also meet with frontline medical workers, military officials, community workers, police, patients and residents, Xinhua said.

The virus is believed to have emerged in December at a market that sold wild animals in Wuhan before ballooning into a national and then a global epidemic.

More than 4,000 people have died and over 110,000 have been infected worldwide, with the majority in China, though daily infections are now growing at a much faster pace abroad.

China reported only 19 new cases on Tuesday, the lowest figure since it started to compile the data on January 21.

Seventeen cases were in Wuhan while the other two were imported from abroad.

The country had been tallying thousands of cases every week in January and most of February.