Xi sounds the bugle for a COVID-19 showdown

President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s COVID-19 outbreak, on Tuesday, urging everyone involved in the fight against the epidemic: “Don’t drop your guard, don’t relax. Pay attention to every detail of prevention and control, and resolutely win the battle.”

The top leader came to Wuhan following two similar inspection trips to Beijing. Observers say his visit to the first line of defense in Wuhan sends a signal that the unprecedented people’s war against the COVID-19 epidemic is close to ending.

Tuesday also marked the closure of the last of 14 public facilities in Wuhan repurposed into temporary hospitals, providing further evidence that the epidemic prevention and control in the central Chinese city has achieved essential progress.

Within less than two months, the world’s most populous country has managed to achieve a U-turn in epidemic prevention and control, a result of China’s authorities fighting alongside the people. It reflects the Communist Party of China’s principle of putting people’s lives and health first.

There have been two battlefields in this fight: One is the hospitals, and the other is the residential communities. When visiting Huoshenshan Hospital, the president lauded medical workers as the “most beautiful angels.” Via a video link, he also encouraged patients to stay confident in overcoming the disease.

At a residential community in the city, Xi inspected epidemic prevention measures, inquired about the purchasing and supply of people’s daily necessities, and held talks with community workers and volunteers. He expressed his gratitude to the people of Hubei, especially those in Wuhan, for their sacrifices and significant contributions. He didn’t forget about those quarantined at home, who waved to him from their balconies and windows.

President Xi chaired an online conference, which was attended by local officials of different levels across Hubei Province. Xi assigned tasks for the next phase. He stressed that medical treatment and prevention should be given priority. Xi also said officials in Hubei must give more support to cities and counties with less optimal medical conditions, and they should be understanding and supportive toward the people who live in hard-hit areas.

The Chinese president also asked that work should be resumed in a time-appropriate manner using different approaches, emphasizing that institutional lines of defense be established to guarantee the lives and health of the people.

As coronavirus spreads across the globe, the World Health Organization has expressed its concerns that some countries are not paying enough attention and are not well-prepared for the situation. The international community is realizing with increasing alarm that the outbreak is a major challenge to all countries.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that, while he was in Beijing, he witnessed how President Xi directed the prevention and control efforts. The WHO has been calling for leadership and political willingness, exactly what the Chinese president demonstrated.

President Xi’s order of mobilization for a COVID-19 showdown displays the country’s confidence, determination and capabilities in facing the outbreak. There is light at the end of the tunnel for China to overcome this crisis.


President Xi Jinping visits Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, March 10, 2020. /Xinhua Photo