China’s Xi pays first visit to virus epicentre Wuhan

Beijing, March 10 (AFP/APP): Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Wuhan on Tuesday for his first visit to the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic since the crisis erupted in January — a major sign that officials believe the outbreak is under control.

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.

Library Banner

State media showed Xi, wearing a mask, speaking via video-link to frontline medical workers and patients at one of the field hospitals set up in the city.

Xi will also visit military officials, community workers, police, patients and residents, Xinhua said.

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

Li and a vice-premier have already visited the virus-stricken city of Wuhan.

Coronavirus: a war fought by 1.4 billion people of China