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Wuhan mayor admits ‘withholding information’ about the coronavirus outbreak

The mayor of a Chinese city ravaged by a new deadly virus has admitted that his government withheld information about an outbreak from the public.

Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan, confessed that his team had not released information about the situation ‘in time’. He also said that the city was seeing human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus ‘on a large scale’.

The revelations came after Mr Zhou yesterday disclosed that around five million Wuhan residents had left the city before it went into lockdown last Thursday. 

Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan, confessed that his team had not released information about the situation ‘in time’ during an interview with state broadcaster CCTV today

Death toll of the life-threatening infection doubled over the weekend to 81. In the picture above, a medic takes the body temperature of a man at the departure hall of the airport in Changsha, Hunan Province, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the coronavirus today

Death toll of the life-threatening infection doubled over the weekend to 81. In the picture above, a medic takes the body temperature of a man at the departure hall of the airport in Changsha, Hunan Province, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the coronavirus today

China today extended its New Year holiday to fight the killer coronavirus outbreak which has killed 81 people and struck down more than 2,800 people. In the picture above, a medical staff member in a hazmat suit is see in the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan on January 24

China today extended its New Year holiday to fight the killer coronavirus outbreak which has killed 81 people and struck down more than 2,800 people. In the picture above, a medical staff member in a hazmat suit is see in the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan on January 24

The coronavirus epidemic has killed at least 81 people – all in China – and sickened more than 2,800.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS OF CORONAVIRUS

  • China today extended its New Year holiday to fight the killer coronavirus outbreak which has killed 81 people and struck down more than 2,800 people  
  • Scientists following the outbreak fear more than 100,000 people have been infected already, considerably more than official toll – others have said it could as high as 350,000  
  • Reports have surfaced that some suspected coronavirus carriers coming to the UK may have been wrongly told they don’t need to be tested unless they have ‘the sniffles’
  • France’s Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said anyone wanting to leave Wuhan would be taken back on a direct flight and then held in quarantine for two weeks
  • China’s health minister Ma Xiaowei said ‘it seems like the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger’ and it can be passed from person-to-person even before symptoms appear

 

The health crisis has led the authorities to quarantine at least 56 million people living in central China’s Hubei Province and cancel Lunar New Year festivities around the country.  

Mr Wu, 56, made the latest comments to state broadcaster CCTV today after being widely accused of covering up the truth of the epidemic. 

The official explained that his government would need to receive authorisation from high above before making any announcement regarding the novel coronavirus. 

‘On one hand, we did not reveal [information] in time; on the other, we did not use effective information to improve our work to a satisfactory level,’ Mr Zhou said during the interview which was live-streamed online.

The mayor hoped the public could understand his government’s decision. 

He said: ‘Regarding the untimely disclosure, [I] hope everyone can understand. [Coronavirus] is a contagious disease. Contagious diseases have relevant law and information needs to be disclosed according to law.’

He then explained the restriction his government faced.

‘As a local government, after I receive the information, [I] can only release it after being authorised. [Many people] could not understand this at the time,’ he said.  

Mr Zhou added that he and the Communist Party Secretary of Wuhan were willing to resign in exchange for forgiveness from the public.

Mr Zhou yesterday disclosed that around five million Wuhan residents had left the city before it went into lockdown last Thursday. People wearing face masks are pictured (above) as they wait at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan on January 22 - a day before the city's lockdown

Mr Zhou yesterday disclosed that around five million Wuhan residents had left the city before it went into lockdown last Thursday. People wearing face masks are pictured (above) as they wait at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan on January 22 – a day before the city’s lockdown

The health crisis has led the authorities to quarantine at least 56 million people living in China's Hubei Province. Members of a military medical team are pictured heading for Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, where most of the coronavirus patients are being looked after, on January 26

The health crisis has led the authorities to quarantine at least 56 million people living in China’s Hubei Province. Members of a military medical team are pictured heading for Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, where most of the coronavirus patients are being looked after, on January 26

Wuhan mayor Zhou Xianwang admitted withholding information of the coronavirus after being widely accused of covering up the truth of the epidemic. A military medical worker is pictured taking over the work from a medical worker at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital on January 26

Wuhan mayor Zhou Xianwang admitted withholding information of the coronavirus after being widely accused of covering up the truth of the epidemic. A military medical worker is pictured taking over the work from a medical worker at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital on January 26

China has expanded sweeping efforts to contain the viral disease by extending the Lunar New Year holiday to keep the public at home and avoid spreading infection as the death toll doubled over the weekend to 81.

Hong Kong announced it would bar entry to visitors from the province at the centre of the outbreak following a warning the virus’s ability to spread was growing. Travel agencies were ordered to cancel group tours nationwide, adding to the rising economic cost.

Increasingly drastic anti-disease efforts began with the January 22 suspension of plane, train and bus links to Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in central China where the virus was first detected last month. That lockdown has expanded to a total of 17 cities with more than 50 million people in the most far-reaching disease-control measures ever imposed.

China has expanded sweeping efforts to contain the viral disease by extending the Lunar New Year holiday to keep the public at home and avoid spreading infection as the death toll soars

China has expanded sweeping efforts to contain the viral disease by extending the Lunar New Year holiday to keep the public at home and avoid spreading infection as the death toll soars

Hong Kong announced it would bar entry to visitors from the province at the centre of the outbreak following a warning the virus's ability to spread was growing. Chinese experts have warned that the virus can be passed on between humans before symptoms show

Hong Kong announced it would bar entry to visitors from the province at the centre of the outbreak following a warning the virus’s ability to spread was growing. Chinese experts have warned that the virus can be passed on between humans before symptoms show

Increasingly drastic anti-disease efforts began with the January 22 suspension of plane, train and bus links to Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in central China where the virus was first detected last month. Medical workers are seen spraying disinfectant in goggles on January 26

Increasingly drastic anti-disease efforts began with the January 22 suspension of plane, train and bus links to Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in central China where the virus was first detected last month. Medical workers are seen spraying disinfectant in goggles on January 26

The end of the Lunar New Year holiday, China’s busiest travel season, was pushed back to Sunday from Thursday to ‘reduce mass gatherings’ and ‘block the spread of the epidemic,’ a Cabinet statement said.

The government of Shanghai, a metropolis of 25 million people and a global business center, extended the holiday by an additional week within the city to Feb. 9. It ordered sports stadiums and religious events closed.

Tens of millions of people had been due to crowd into planes, trains and buses to return to work after visiting their hometowns or tourist sites for the holiday. Schools will postpone reopening until further notice, the Cabinet said.

Shanghai's Disneyland announced an emergency closure last week for 'the prevention and control of the disease outbreak'. Visitors wearing masks walk past the resort on January 24. The attraction has taken the extraordinary step of closing during the Lunar New Year holiday

Shanghai’s Disneyland announced an emergency closure last week for ‘the prevention and control of the disease outbreak’. Visitors wearing masks walk past the resort on January 24. The attraction has taken the extraordinary step of closing during the Lunar New Year holiday

The Forbidden City (pictured on Friday) is also closed and part of the Great Wall of China has been shut to stop the spread of the coronavirus which has killed 26 and infected 830 in China

The Forbidden City (pictured on Friday) is also closed and part of the Great Wall of China has been shut to stop the spread of the coronavirus which has killed 26 and infected 830 in China

The spread of the illness is being watched around the globe, with a small number of cases appearing in several other countries.

South Korea confirmed its fourth case Monday. Scattered cases also have been confirmed in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, the U.S., Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France, Canada and Australia.

The U.S. has confirmed cases in Washington state, Chicago, southern California and Arizona.

China also reported five cases in Hong Kong and two in Macao.

People wear masks in the Jingshan Park in Beijing today, January 24. New Year celebrations planned in the park will no longer go ahead as the country is ravaged by the deadly virus

People wear masks in the Jingshan Park in Beijing today, January 24. New Year celebrations planned in the park will no longer go ahead as the country is ravaged by the deadly virus

A woman is pictured wearing a mask in front of the now-closed Forbidden City in Beijing. The building houses the capital's Palace Museum but has been shut to visitors to curb the outbreak

A woman is pictured wearing a mask in front of the now-closed Forbidden City in Beijing. The building houses the capital’s Palace Museum but has been shut to visitors to curb the outbreak

Also Monday, China’s No. 2 leader, Premier Li Keqiang, visited Wuhan to ‘guide epidemic prevention work,’ the Cabinet website said. Photos on the site showed Li, in a blue smock and green face mask, meeting hospital employees.

Later, the premier, wearing a face mask and a dark windbreaker, visited a supermarket. Shoppers, also wearing masks, cheered to him, ‘Happy New Year!’

‘To get the epidemic under control in Wuhan and the good health of people in Wuhan will be good news for the whole country,’ Li told the crowd. ‘We wish the people of Wuhan a safe, healthy and long life. Let’s go, Wuhan!’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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