Xi Jinping visits Wuhan, in major show of confidence as China turns corner on coronavirus

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made his first visit to Wuhan since the novel coronavirus outbreak began more than two months ago, as new cases of the virus slow to a trickle. CNN's David Culver reports.

Posted: Mar 10, 2020 10:00 PM
Updated: Mar 10, 2020 10:00 PM

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made his first visit to Wuhan since the novel coronavirus outbreak began more than two months ago, as new cases of the virus slowed to a trickle in the country where the disease first emerged.

Xi's visit to Wuhan -- which has been on lockdown for weeks now, with tens of thousands of confirmed cases of the virus and hundreds of deaths -- is a major show of confidence in China's response to the pandemic, underlining a message which has been building in state media that the country has turned a corner.

As of Tuesday, there have been 80,754 cases of the virus confirmed across China, 67,760 of which were in Hubei, the province of which Wuhan is the capital. Of the 3,136 deaths confirmed in China, all but 112 have been in Hubei.

At its worst, Hubei was reporting thousands of new cases per day. On Monday, China's National Health Commission said there were only 17 new cases confirmed in the province, with two others in other parts of the country -- both of which were linked to overseas travel.

The progress in China, which has come on the back of weeks of widespread travel restrictions, government enforced lockdowns and economic pain, is in stark contrast to other parts of the world, where the situation is growing increasingly dire.

Propaganda victory

According to state news agency Xinhua, Xi arrived in Wuhan Tuesday "for an inspection of the epidemic prevention and control work" in the city and surrounding province.

He "will visit and express regards to medical workers, military officers and soldiers, community workers, police officers, officials and volunteers who have been fighting the epidemic on the front line, as well as patients and residents during the inspection," Xinhua reported.

That Xi can visit the city suggests the government has supreme confidence in his safety and epidemic controls put in place there. The closest he previously came to the frontlines of the outbreak was visiting virus treatment centers in the capital Beijing, which has far fewer cases than Wuhan.

Senior government officials, including Vice Premier Sun Chunlan and Premier Li Keqiang, have visited Wuhan, but it was assumed until now that the risk to Xi, even if slight, was not worth the potential cost. Since taking office in 2011, Xi has centralized authority massively, becoming China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, and were the 66-year-old to fall ill, that could seriously destabilize the political system.

His presence in Wuhan also caps a major reversal in how he has been positioned in Chinese state media. In the early weeks of the virus, Xi disappeared from front pages and major newscasts -- which he typically dominates -- though reports emphasized he was working in the background to direct the country's response.

Xi's low profile led to speculation that the propaganda apparatus was trying to ensure that he did not take any blame for the apparent bungling and alleged covering up of the initial response to the virus. Xi has increasingly come to the fore in recent weeks, however, as China has appeared to successfully brought the outbreak under control.

If that assessment is accurate, then Xi is now ready to reap the praise for having contained the virus. A book published late last month by the Central Propaganda Department -- in six different languages -- recounts how China won the "people's war" against the disease, "under the centralized and unified leadership of the Communist Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 787421

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1114521765
Mobile708161234
Madison49744633
Baldwin36201495
Shelby36186315
Tuscaloosa33818548
Montgomery33135678
Lee22590220
Calhoun21140410
Morgan19795335
Etowah19188462
Marshall17659274
Houston16788386
St. Clair15408305
Cullman14568258
Limestone14553188
Elmore14444264
Lauderdale13486281
Talladega12932236
DeKalb12174237
Walker10561330
Blount9693157
Autauga9652137
Jackson9363158
Coffee8847175
Dale8584173
Colbert8508184
Tallapoosa6661181
Escambia6585121
Covington6432167
Chilton6372144
Russell605355
Franklin5779101
Chambers5398134
Marion4789120
Dallas4694189
Clarke462279
Pike461597
Geneva4396117
Winston425295
Lawrence4112108
Bibb408581
Barbour346570
Marengo326285
Butler318190
Monroe318153
Randolph305256
Pickens304474
Henry301358
Hale292285
Cherokee289455
Fayette279073
Washington245248
Crenshaw237970
Cleburne235251
Clay228365
Macon219258
Lamar196243
Conecuh181846
Lowndes170758
Coosa169935
Wilcox159736
Bullock149243
Perry136437
Sumter124436
Greene121243
Choctaw73427
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