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Coronavirus Live Updates: Infections Skyrocket to Nearly 50,000 in Hubei Province

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Credit…China Daily, via Reuters

China’s ruling Communist Party fired the leaders of the province and the city at the center of the new coronavirus outbreak on Thursday amid widespread public anger over the handling of the epidemic.

Jiang Chaoliang, the party secretary of Hubei Province, is the highest-ranking official to lose his job over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 1,300 people in recent weeks.

After the outbreak first emerged in Wuhan the leadership came under intense scrutiny for playing down the virus and delaying reports of its spread. The province then took drastic measures that included imposing a lockdown not only on Wuhan but also on tens of millions of people in surrounding areas.

For hospitals in Wuhan, already overwhelmed with patients, that cordon worsened a shortage of medical supplies that has continued.

Mr. Jiang will be replaced by Ying Yong, the mayor of Shanghai. The selection of Mr. Ying may underline the continued political control of Xi Jinping, China’s top leader. Before being transferred to Shanghai in a fairly senior role in 2008, Mr. Ying had come up through the political ranks in Zhejiang Province, which is Mr. Xi’s political base as well.

The party also ousted Ma Guoqiang, the top official in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, and replaced him with Wang Zhonglin, formerly the party secretary of the eastern city of Jinan.

The number of people confirmed to have the coronavirus in Hubei Province, the center of the outbreak, skyrocketed by 14,840 cases to 48,206, the government said on Thursday, setting a new daily record, after the authorities changed the diagnostic criteria for counting new cases.

The number of deaths in the province on Wednesday jumped by 242 to a total of 1,310, more than doubling the previous daily record of 103 set on Monday.

The Coronavirus Outbreak

  • What do you need to know? Start here.

    Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.