China officials fired as coronovirus deaths surge past 1,300

Health officials in China‘s hard-hit central province of Hubei reported on Thursday that 242 more people died from the coronavirus COVID-19 as of Wednesday – the highest in a single day and more than twice the previous record high – pushing the death toll across the country to 1,355.

The province’s health commission also reported a huge jump in new cases, saying a further 14,840 people had been confirmed with the infection over the 24-hour period to midnight on Wednesday (16:00 GMT).

As this developed, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday that the head of the Communist party in the province of Hubei has been relieved of his post – the latest in a line of local officials fired.

Hubei is at the centre of the outbreak, which is thought to have originated in a now-closed seafood market in the capital of Wuhan late last year.

Former Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong has been appointed as the new secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, replacing Jiang Chaoliang, the report said, citing the party’s central committee.

Al Jazeera’s Katrina Yu, reporting from Beijing, said “it was expected that somebody’s head was on the chopping block”.

“There’s been a lot of criticism about the information not being so forthcoming” from Hubei officials, she added. (Via AlJazeera)

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