02/17/2020, 09.58
CHINA
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Over 70 thousand cases of coronavirus; death toll rises to 1772. Isolation measures strengthened for Hubei

by Wang Zhicheng

Of all those affected by the virus, 18% are in very critical condition. An international team of experts sent by the WHO is in Beijing to study ways of collaboration to contain the epidemic. Controversy over silence and delays continues. One historian: "The Chinese health system is very weak, overcrowded, inefficient, expensive and chaotic".

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese ministry of health reports today that 70,635 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the country and the death toll has risen to 1772; there are 7,264 suspected cases.

The province of Hubei - the epicenter of the epidemic - is the one with the highest number of deaths (1696) and the most infected (58,182).

According to the ministry of health, of all those affected by the virus, 18% are in very critical condition.

To avoid more infections, the Hubei authorities have strengthened the province's isolation measures from the rest of the country. All residential places and villages must keep visitors away; the inhabitants - one member per family - can go out every two days to get food; even better if commissions are carried out by specialized personnel and then distributed to family groups. Factories where there are confirmed cases of infection must be closed in quarantine for 14 days.

Meanwhile, an international group of experts sent by the WHO (World Health Organization) have come to Beijing to study ways of collaboration to contain the epidemic. Although the Chinese authorities claim full control over the spread of the disease, the WHO is more skeptical and asks for more data on how diagnoses are made.

Ying Yong, the New Secretary of the Hubei Party, held a meeting yesterday afternoon in which he stressed the need to streamline bureaucracy to ensure fast and effective interventions. Controversy continues to rage in the country regarding the delays with which the alarm was raised and the suffocation of the rumors that denounced the epidemic, silenced by the police.

Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang had blamed the central leadership, which delayed the emergency order. Xi Jinping himself seems to have known the gravity of the situation since early January and only announced the emergency on January 23.

In response, Xi removed the provincial party secretary, Jiang Chaoliang, to replace him with one of his protégés, Ying Yong.

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