Xi Jinping visits Wuhan, sign that China epidemic is slowing

Xi’s trip to Wuhan came as the country recorded just 19 new cases of the virus Tuesday. The official Xinhua News Agency said Xi went to a hastily built hospital, visited with patients and encouraged staff to “firm up confidence in defeating the epidemic.” He then visited Wuhan residents under quarantine at home, Xinhua reported.

The visit also was likely to be seen as an attempt to bolster views of the ruling Communist Party’s handling of the crisis. Xi was conspicuously absent from the public eye during the early days of the outbreak and alarms were not sounded until late January.

Wuhan and nearby cities have been under lockdown since then, though, in a virus-containment measure.

Ying Yong, the party secretary of Hubei province where Wuhan is located, told local officials that preparations should be made for resuming business production and the safe and orderly movement of individuals, according to a notice published on Hubei’s government website.