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Home / World News / 254 die in a day in China as ‘war time’ measures put in place for Covid-19, top Hubei official sacked

254 die in a day in China as ‘war time’ measures put in place for Covid-19, top Hubei official sacked

With the sharp jump in the number of the infected, nearly 60,000 are now sickened by the disease in China.

world Updated: Feb 13, 2020 16:25 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
A hotline operator for free counselling service answers a phone on February 12 while wearing a face mask, in Shenyang as China is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
A hotline operator for free counselling service answers a phone on February 12 while wearing a face mask, in Shenyang as China is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. (Reuters photo)

On a day of rapid developments, China sacked the top leadership of Hubei, the central Chinese province at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak hours after the worst-hit region reported at least 254 new deaths on Wednesday, the highest death toll recorded for a day since the epidemic began.

The jump in numbers was recorded as a district in central Hubei province implemented “wartime control measures” for the next 14 days, including the full closure of all buildings, the first time during the virus outbreak.

“The order, applying to a district in the city of Shiyan, says only those who are fighting the epidemic are allowed to leave their homes, as of Thursday. All residential areas are being manned around the clock,” the state media report says.

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Hubei, and its capital city, Wuhan also reported nearly 15,152 new cases of the disease, which is now officially known as Covid-19.

With the sharp jump in the number of the infected, nearly 60,000 are now sickened by the disease in China.

In the biggest political fallout of the escalating outbreak, Ying Yong, mayor of Shanghai, was appointed Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of Hubei province replacing Jiang Chaoliang, official news agency, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

“Ying was also appointed as a member and Standing Committee member of the CPC Hubei Provincial Committee, it said.Jiang Chaoliang will no longer hold the office,” the brief statement from the CPC added.

“Ying, 62, a native of Zhejiang province in eastern China, began his career in 1976 and has rich working experience in Chinese political and legal affairs, including in the public security bureau and the courts. He became Shanghai mayor in early 2017,” the report said.

On the sharp rise in the number of new cases, the Hubei health commission said the number of new cases “…included 13,332 clinically diagnosed cases, which have been seen as confirmed cases from Thursday”.

It brought the total confirmed cases in the hard-hit province to 48,206.

Clinically diagnosed cases are unique to Hubei statistically. The inclusion of those cases drives the surge in the number of new confirmed cases.

“Any suspected cases with pneumonia-related computerised tomography (CT) scan results are counted as clinically diagnosed cases,” according to the latest version of the diagnosis and treatment scheme released by China’s national health commission (NHC).

The provincial health commission said the diagnosis criteria revision has been made to give those who have been clinically diagnosed the timely standard treatment of confirmed cases to further improve the treatment success rate.

“The province also saw 3,441 patients discharged from hospital after recovery as of Wednesday. Among the 33,693 hospitalised patients, 5,647 were still in severe condition and another 1,437 in critical condition,” official media reported.

Outside China, at least 25 countries have reported cnfirmed cases and several nations including India have evacuated their citizens from Hubei where tens of millions remain under a lockdown with severe restrictions.

Two deaths have been recorded outside mainland China - one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned the virus poses a “grave threat” to the world, with chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, saying the virus could have “more powerful consequences than any terrorist action”.

The Financial Times, quoting local media sources, reported Son Loi, a village in northern Vietnam about 40 kilometre north-west of Hanoi, has been put on lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Vietnamese state-controlled media reported on the move on Thursday, one of the first such instances of an entire residential area being sealed off outside China to prevent transmission of the disease,” the FT report said.

The VNExpress said that Vin Phuc province, where Son Loi is located, had “locked down” the commune for 14 days because seven people had contracted the coronavirus.

Vin Phuc province accounts for the majority of Vietnam’s 15 confirmed coronavirus cases to date, the FT report said.