China’s President Xi Jinping has visited the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, amid a drop in the number of infections and deaths and in a sign that the worst of the epidemic may be over in the country.
Xi was scheduled to “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” of the city on Tuesday, state news agency Xinhua reported.
China had imposed a lockdown on Wuhan, a city of roughly 11 million people where the virus first emerged, in a move that has since appeared to be effective at curbing its spread.
The visit by President Xi comes as the spread of the virus in mainland China has slowed down sharply over the past week.
All of 14 makeshift hospitals in Wuhan have been officially shut.
China’s National Health Commission said on Tuesday that mainland China had registered only 19 new cases of the coronavirus infection on Monday, down from 40 a day earlier. The new cases brought the total number of confirmed cases in China to 80,754.
China also reported only 17 more deaths, raising the death toll from the virus to 3,136 as of Monday.
The downward trends in the tallies, together with the presidential visit to Wuhan, indicate that Beijing may have won the war on its coronavirus outbreak, although the fight on the disease itself is far from over. On Tuesday, Hubei Province, where Wuhan is located, said it would implement a “health code” system to permit people in areas at a medium or low risk of contracting the coronavirus to begin traveling.
The provincial government will require residents to use a mobile app, which gives each person a colored health code. Individuals assigned a green code will be authorized to travel within the province.
But most other countries are witnessing the initial phases of outbreaks of their own.