Beijing | The balance sheet of the epidemic coronavirus is still weighed down Monday in China, to more than 900 dead, while the president Xi Jinping, the face covered with a mask of protection, has called for measures “more strong and decisive action” against the disease.
While the epidemic appeared in December at a market in Wuhan (the centre) has infected more than 40 000 people according to the latest report, the number one chinese is rendered in a residential district of Beijing to assist in the fight against the contagion, and to visit a hospital.
In a long report broadcasted on the national evening news, he spoke about the situation in Wuhan, placed a de facto quarantine since 23 January, and that a large part of his province, and Hubei, where the largest number of victims.
“The epidemic in Hubei, and Wuhan remains very serious,” he acknowledged, calling on them to take “stronger measures and decisive action to stop a strong momentum of contagion”.
His government has already taken drastic measures by prohibiting some 56 million people of Hubei to leave the province.
But the power has also been criticised for having been slow to respond to the epidemic and have even reprimanded whistleblowers for “spreading rumours”. The death of one of them, a doctor of 34 years, who died Friday, has given rise to unusual calls for freedom of expression.
On the images broadcast by the state television broadcaster CCTV, Mr. Xi appeared for the first time with the face covered with a mask of protection, such as the fact now the vast majority of his countrymen.
It is left to take the temperature of the forearm using an electronic thermometer, a ritual now common in the country at the entrance of public places.
We have seen then talk to a respectable distance with inhabitants of the neighborhood – hidden also.
“Serious and imminent threat”
The new coronavirus has 908 deaths in mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macao), according to the last balance sheet prepared on Monday by authorities, confirming a certain degree of stability in the progression of the epidemic.
In the past 24 hours, 97 deaths have been recorded in mainland China. The country has counted more than 3000 new cases of contamination.
The virus has also killed two people in the world, one in the Philippines and another in Hong Kong.
Elsewhere in the world, the british government has classified Monday, the new coronavirus a “serious and imminent threat to the public health,” and announced four new cases, bringing to eight the number of people affected in the Uk.
This classification allows London to take measures to combat the contagion. In this framework, people with coronavirus can be quarantined by force if they pose a threat to public health.
The european Health ministers will meet in emergency Thursday in Brussels to discuss coordinated measures against the epidemic.
The expansion of the virus outside of China could increase as much with the transmission of the disease by people who have never traveled in this country, warned Sunday the director general of the world health Organization (WHO).
“We don’t see may be the tip of the iceberg,” warned Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, while a “mission of international experts” of the WHO is expected Monday in China.
In China, the output of the president Xi coincides with a gradual resumption of work on Monday morning, outside the areas under quarantine, even if the students remain on holiday and that businesses are encouraged to let their employees work from home.
In Beijing as in Shanghai, car traffic was experiencing a slight revival of activity, even though the two mega-cities were very far away from their congestion the usual.
The subway of Beijing had only a 50% attendance normal for a week day, according to the public media.
Employees who resumed work were sometimes afraid. “We’re worried, that’s for sure,” said to the AFP an employee of a beauty salon desert in a business district of the capital.
“If customers come, they take the temperature, we offer them with disinfectant and asked to wash hands”, he explains.
In offices, the town hall of Shanghai is advisable to avoid groups of people in adopting staggered hours, avoiding meal between colleagues which need to keep between them a distance of at least one meter. The systems of aeration by the blower must remain switched off.
Sign of the economic difficulties caused by the virus, Beijing announced on Monday a jump of over 20% in food prices in January.
An outbreak linked to different blockages, road taxed in the entire country in the hope of stemming the epidemic.
On television, Xi Jinping was intended to be reassuring, saying that the impact of the virus would be “of short duration”.
He called to “be very careful with the issue of unemployment” and to “avoid layoffs on a large scale”.
In the world, over 320 cases of contamination have been confirmed in some thirty countries and territories.