China fires senior officials as coronavirus cases spike further

A staff member checks the temperature of a passenger entering a subway station in Beijing, China. The Asian superpower is struggling in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak which has killed hundreds and infected tens of thousands more. (Photo: The Jerusalem Post)

The People’s Republic of China has moved to dismiss key provincial officials within the Communist Party as the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak ripping through the country shows no sign of slowing down.

In fact, cases have doubled in China’s Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, as it announced 242 new deaths from the novel coronavirus on Thursday—twice as many reported on the previous day.

New infections in Hubei jumped by more than 14,000.

In the major provincial leadership shakeup, Shanghai mayor Ying Yong replaces Jiang Chaoliang as Hubei Communist Party chief, according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Mayor of Shanghai Ying Yong is announced as the new chief of the Hubei Communist Party. Hubei is the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic sweeping across China and 25 countries worldwide. (Photo: Shanghai Daily)

Xinhua further noted that Wuhan Communist Party chief Ma Guoqiang has also been replaced by Wang Zhonglin, party chief of Jinan city in Shandong province.

These latest sackings follow two officials in charge of the provincial health authority being dismissed earlier this week.

The spike in cases is partly due to a broader definition of what constitutes a confirmed case, to include people diagnosed based on their symptoms rather than testing positive for the coronavirus.

Outside mainland China, there at least 570 confirmed cases of coronavirus in more than 25 countries and territories.