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China is making good progress in containing coronavirus outbreak : Xi Jinping

Beijing. China is making good progress in containing the deadly coronavirus outbreak, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday during his first public appearance in eight days, as he welcomed Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to Beijing.

Hun Sen is the first foreign leader to visit China since the introduction of emergency measures to tackle the outbreak, which originated in December in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

In footage shown by state broadcaster CCTV, Xi said China had adopted strict measures and was achieving results.

“China is confident and capable of containing the outbreak,” he said, adding that the Cambodian students stuck in Wuhan would be well taken care of.

Xi also chaired a legal work conference on Wednesday, at which he said the nation’s legal system had a key role to play in helping to contain the virus. It was essential, he said, that laws covering the trade in wild animals and the management of public health incidents were strictly enforced.

“Currently we are at the critical moment of controlling the epidemic,” he said. “Offences jeopardising disease control, including resistance to control measures, violence towards medical staff, counterfeiting medical materials and the spreading of rumours must be severely curtailed.”

Xi was last seen on January 28, when he met World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Beijing. Since then, state media has released instructions and orders from the head of China’s Communist Party but he has not been seen out and about.

Xi chaired a meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee on January 25 – the first day of the Lunar New Year – at which a task force was set up to contain the outbreak. While the group is nominally headed by Premier Li Keqiang, Xi said he would personally direct and coordinate its efforts.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (centre) welcomes Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on his arrival in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: Xinhua

As of 8:30pm Wednesday, there had been 24,391 confirmed infections in mainland China and 492 deaths, with a single fatality reported in Hong Kong. Around the world there were 24,605 confirmed cases.

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