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China moves to ease mounting anger with reset of virus fight

first_imgXi has ordered “all-out” efforts to contain the disease and forcibly quarantined more than 40 million people in Hubei, while the party appointed a task force led by Premier Li Keqiang to coordinate the nationwide response. In recent days, the central government sent two senior officials to help lead the response in Hubei, and removed two top members of the provincial health commission from their posts.Pressure has increased on the party after a nationwide outpouring of grief and fury over the death of Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang, who was accused by local police of spreading rumors after sounding one of the first warnings about the outbreak of the disease now known as COVID-19. Indications that news of Li’s death from the disease was also censored by Chinese authorities prompted further outrage on social media.“With the full support of the central leading team, the new frontline commanders, together with some newly appointed officials to head the local disease control and prevention systems, have been entrusted with the urgent mission of getting to grips with the situation in the hardest-hit region,” the China Daily, a state-run newspaper directed at an English-speaking audience, wrote in a commentary published Thursday.The reset met was with skepticism on Chinese social media, where residents had long speculated based on anecdotes reported in local media and shared online that case numbers were higher than the official tallies. Many compared the approach to the actions of a troubled company.“Past liabilities got cleared, so the new officials can start afresh, unburdened by the prior failures,” wrote a Weibo user named Maitian with more than 200,000 followers. The post was widely shared on the Twitter-like platform before disappearing. By early Friday, “Wuhan case number unclear” had become a top trending topic on Weibo.The reshuffle raises the stakes for Xi as he takes greater personal responsibility for the response. Ying was appointed mayor of Shanghai in January 2017 after a career spent mostly in the financial center and neighboring Zhejiang province, including stints under the future president.Jiang, a former governor of Jilin province who’s held posts at several banks, has led Hubei’s provincial party committee since October 2016. He had previously led the People’s Bank of China’s Shenzhen and Guangzhou branches during the Asian financial crisis.Local officials often bear the brunt when crises threaten the ruling party. China fired more than 100 officials, including the health minister and the mayor of Beijing, after allegations that local governments suppressed information about a similar outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, in 2003.“This is a critical juncture of the campaign, so you also want to show resolve – that the central government is winning the war, and is even willing to change the leadership to get that done,” said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations and director of Seton Hall University’s Center for Global Health Studies. “This is a demonstration of resolve – and the fact that they’re willing to take heed of public opinion.”The change in counting method will renew concern over the effectiveness the tests currently used to identify stricken patients globally, and raise questions over the true scale of the outbreak that has killed almost 1,400 people, all but three on mainland China.The traditional nucleic acid test identifies the virus in a patient’s body through its specific genetic sequence, but reports of a severe lack of test kits and the unreliability of test results have circulated since the start of the crisis. In Wuhan, people with symptoms like fever and coughing wait for hours in line to get tested. Those who test negative are usually turned away from the hospital.The issue has cropped up outside China, as well. On Wednesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that test kits shipped to labs around the world last week have proved faulty.The spike in number will likely intensify public anger against the government’s handling of the crisis. In an update to its treatment guidelines on Feb. 5, China’s National Health Commission added the category of “clinically diagnosed cases” in recognition of a shortage of nucleic acid tests. Hubei didn’t include that category in its count until Thursday, a week later.Yin, the Trivium partner, said the revision could actually help counter skepticism about China’s official data on the outbreak. “If the government is willing to see numbers jump by over 10,000 overnight, I would say that actually shows the government is not hiding the numbers this time,” Yin said.Topics : The shakeup represented the biggest political fallout yet from an outbreak that has in a little over two months shaken confidence in China’s leaders and caused countries from the United States to Japan to restrict or block visits by its citizens. The decision on the heels of the expanded case tally was reminiscent of a boardroom reset, in which bad numbers are disclosed first to give the new team a clean slate.“First of all, they are trying to clean up the backlog of untested people who haven’t been confirmed,” said Ether Yin, partner at Beijing-based consulting firm Trivium China. “It’s politically important for them to get the number right before the new party boss comes in, so that all the new confirmed cases happened under Jiang Chaoliang’s watch. The new party secretary needs a new starting line.”The surprise revision came amid mounting speculation that China was undercounting cases of the new coronavirus strain, as countries around the world struggle to contain a disease that appears to spread when patients show only mild symptoms. Daily declines in new cases in Hubei earlier this week helped push US equity markets to record highs on Wednesday.Asia stocks were mixed Friday as traders continued to digest China’s latest coronavirus data, after most global equity markets fell on Thursday. The moves came hours after Xi urged a meeting of the Politburo’s supreme Standing Committee to follow through on epidemic-control efforts, which he said had achieved “positive” results. China took action on two fronts to gain control of the spiraling coronavirus outbreak gripping the country: reporting a dramatic increase in cases and ousting top officials who failed to check the disease’s expansion.First, health authorities revealed Thursday that cases in Hubei province, where the disease first emerged, had surged by 45 percent to almost 50,000 after they included a new group of patients. That raised the global tally to almost 60,000, dashing hopes that the epidemic might be easing. Additional cases announced Friday by China increased the total further to more than 64,000 worldwide.Authorities also announced the replacement of the two most senior Communist Party officials in Hubei and its hard-hit capital, Wuhan. Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong – a former top judge who once served under President Xi Jinping – was named to replace embattled provincial boss, Jiang Chaoliang.last_img read more


Joshua Warned to be Wary of Price

first_imgDavid Price would present a far more serious threat to Anthony Joshua than Dominic Breazeale or Charles Martin did, says the Liverpudlian’s trainer Dave Coldwell.Joshua defended his IBF world heavyweight title for the first time last weekend with relative ease – halting Breazeale inside seven rounds at The O2. Back in April, he easily blasted aside another American, Martin, to win the belt. With the Londoner (17-0-KO17) not certain to face mandatory challenger Joseph Parker next, Price has thrown his hat into the ring as he looks to re-establish himself as a major player on a British boxing scene enjoying an all-time high. Coldwell believes Price is well capable of doing so.He told Sky Sports: “We’re back in training and he’s looking very good. Pricey works really hard in the gym and is very focused. We’re waiting on a date and we’d like to get out in July but I’ll leave that to Team Sauerland.“He would need a couple of fights before facing Anthony Joshua. We’d like a step up for his next one, then another and then let him off the leash. It depends on what activity he gets.“If he can get busy and get out a couple of fights then I’m happy for him to fight Joshua in November.“There’s a difference in Pricey now. He went through a very negative spell of his career where he would doubt himself, walk out and not even get his jab off. He wasn’t seeking and destroying – he was waiting to see what the other guy was going to do.“Now, Pricey is going out there to inflict damage. This is heavyweight boxing and if you let a 16st, 17st or 18st bloke have a shot on your chin, I don’t care if you’re the heavyweight champion of the world – you’re going over.“Joshua is a good fighter and Joshua can punch but, equally, he’s got to deal with the firepower that Pricey has got and it’s serious. I’m talking world-class punching power. Anybody who knows anything about boxing knows that David Price can really punch.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more


Sparkling Salah destroys Southampton

first_img0Shares0000Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah scores the opening goal during their match against Southampton in Liverpool, north west England on November 18, 2017 © AFP / Paul ELLISLIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, Nov 18 – Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool clinched a comfortable 3-0 victory over Southampton to remain in the pack chasing Premier League leaders Manchester City on Saturday.The Egyptian international moved to the top of the league’s scoring charts on nine goals with a brace before half-time and Philippe Coutinho added a third for Jurgen Klopp’s side after the interval. Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino had spells as both a player and coach at Anfield during Rafael Benitez’s tenure, but the visitors posed little threat on his return.Early on, Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster was forced to save long-range efforts from Georginio Wijnaldum and Coutinho.However, the hosts took a deserved lead just after the half-hour mark which opened the game up and allowed Liverpool to ultimately record an emphatic win which kept them fifth in the table.Dusan Tadic was caught in possession by Roberto Firmino on the edge of the penalty area following a Liverpool corner -– electing to cut inside rather than work the ball to the flank.Wijnaldum slipped the ball to Salah who took a touch to compose himself, before effortlessly curling past Forster and into the top corner of the net from 18 yards.It meant Salah had eight goals from his first 12 Premier League appearances for the Reds -– the joint most after that number of matches with Robbie Fowler.Shortly before half-time Salah, who joined Liverpool from Italian side Roma in June, overhauled Fowler’s goalscoring stat with his second of the contest.Coutinho, afforded space in central midfield, intelligently threaded a ball with the outside of his boot for Salah, and the Egyptian’s anticipation enabled him to steal a march on the Saints defence.– ‘Standing ovation’ –Forster came off his line to narrow the angle, but the 25-year-old Salah’s left-foot finish was as clinical as his first goal and guided it past the England goalkeeper and into the net.Southampton’s best chance of the half came a minute before the break when Nathan Redmond curled a free-kick from a good position just wide of the post.The two sides had met four times last season –- two goalless draws in the Premier League and two 1-0 wins for Southampton in the League Cup.Klopp’s men began the second half with a swagger, though, and almost increased their lead with chances for Brazilian duo Coutinho and Firmino.An inevitable third goal came eight minutes after the hour. The influential Sadio Mane found Firmino, who managed an angled shot despite little space to manoeuvre.Forster parried the ball and Coutinho nipped in ahead of a flat-footed Steven Davis to stroke the rebound home.Fowler is only Liverpool player to score a hat-trick against Southampton -– doing so in both 1993 and 1999 -– and had Liverpool not had a Champions League fixture against Sevilla on Tuesday then Salah might have matched his achievement.With one eye on that match Klopp substituted Salah — who received a standing ovation — for midfielder James Milner with 10 minutes left.There was still time for Firmino to flash a shot past the post and fire over the crossbar from distance as Liverpool coasted to the final whistle.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more