China yesterday replaced its top officials in the central province of Hubei and its capital, Wuhan, the epicenter of a viral outbreak that has infected more than 45,000 people worldwide.
Former Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong succeeds Jiang Chaoliang as the ruling Communist Party’s chief in the beleaguered province, the Xinhua state news agency reported, while Wang Zhonglin will take over from Ma Guoqiang as the party secretary in Wuhan.
The high-level appointments follow the sacking earlier this week of two leaders of the provincial health commission. State media also reported that a slew of others were expelled from the party for transgressions related to the epidemic.
The public has widely criticized local officials for their handling of the outbreak of a new form of coronavirus. The virus first surfaced December in Hubei’s capital, Wuhan, and has since spread to more than two dozen countries.
Many countries have implemented travel restrictions on recent visitors to China, which has more than 99% of the world’s reported infections.
In an unprecedented measure to contain the disease, the Chinese government has placed the hardest-hit cities — home to more than 60 million — under lockdown.
Japan’s Health Ministry announced yesterday that 44 more people on a cruise ship quarantined in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, have tested positive for COVID-19. The ship has 218 infections among its 3,700 passengers and crew.
Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters five of the patients who were already sent to hospitals for isolation and treatment of COVID-19 have severe symptoms and are on artificial respirators or under intensive care.
Another cruise ship, the Westerdam, finally anchored yesterday off Cambodia after being turned away by several Asian and Pacific governments. YANAN WANG, BEIJING, AP