China’s central province of Hubei has been the site of almost 60% of infections, as well as more than 95% of deaths, in an episode the World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency.
But the province’s two cities of Huanggang and Xiaogan, with combined populations of more than 12 million, have racked up more than 11% of global infections and deaths.
As the virus in these cities spreads faster than in Wuhan itself and other sites outside a lockdown zone, the first dismissal of a senior health official in Hubei has spurred authorities to push for more effective measures.
“Medical supplies are in very short supply,” provincial governor Wang Xiaodong said. “Not only are there shortages in Wuhan and surrounding cities, but they are generally severely deficient in other parts of the province.”