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Infection Count: Over 230 Staff Members at Wuhan Central Hospital Have Been Infected

About a week ago, China Newsweek reported that, at the Wuhan Central Hospital (武汉市中心医院), where Dr. Li Wenliang worked previously, over 230 staff members were confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus. Among them, 130 were hospitalized and over 100 stayed at home under quarantine.

Since January 2, 2020, the hospital has requested its medical staff not to  discuss the epidemic openly and not to leave any written text or images that could serve as evidence when discussing the epidemic.

Staff members in different departments, including thyroid and breast surgery, urology, cardiothoracic surgery, vascular surgery, neurology, digestive medicine, and ophthalmology, are infected. Also, many department directors are infected. Dr. Li Wenliang was an ophthalmologist. A deputy director of the Ophthalmology Department is under treatment.

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Leadership: A Lengthy Article Argued That CDC Head Gao Fu Did Nothing Wrong

There have been reports that Gao Fu, the head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was taken down because he did not take proper measures in handling the coronavirus. Beijing later declared that was a rumor.

However, Hua Sheng, an economist in China, published a lengthy article on Weibo, to defend Gao Fu. The article was titled, “What If Group criticism of Gao Fu Chose the Wrong Target?” It discussed a serious of events from December to January and described Gao Fu as the highest level warning provider in the communist regime system. It also defended Gao for not going to Wuhan, the epicenter, because Gao needed to stay in his place and position to organize resources to work on epidemic control.

It then asked, “Since the information gathering and the response of the local government and state offices were not delayed, why were there still so many delays and mistakes in the early stage of stopping the virus?”

China Business Network (第一财经), a media established in Shanghai in 2003 that focuses on business information, published an excerpt from the article’s defense of Gao Fu.

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Resuming Production: Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Sichuan Work on Resuming Production

China’s “Xiao Kang” (Moderate Prosperity) website reported that Zhejiang, Guangdong, and Sichuan provinces are working on resuming production.

On February 16, 2020, Ningbo City, Zhejiang issued an “Opinion” order regarding companies’ to resume work. It encouraged companies to hire more people and each company can receive up to 300,000 yuan (US $43,000) in government subsidies for new hires.

Measured by electricity usage, Zhejiang province has substantially entered the “orderly resuming production” stage.

The three provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Sichuan established a mechanism for the mutual recognition of employees’ health certificates that each province issued.

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Mobile Waste and Animal Corpse Incinerators in Wuhan

China shipped 40 “Mobile Waste and Animal Corpse Disposal Modules” to Wuhan. A manufacturer in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province converted a “mobile medical waste incinerator” to a mobile module that can handle both waste and animal corpses. It could burn 5 tons of waste a day.

Professor Qu Zan from Shanghai Jiao Tong University said that the key to treating medical waste is to kill the virus and the bacteria. The virus cannot live if the module burns the waste at a temperature of 850 Celsius for over two seconds.

According to Xinmin Evening News, a newspaper from Shanghai, each module is of the size of a 20 foot container, with a volume of about 30 cubic meters. It has three parts: a solid waste crushing cabin, an incineration cabin, and a gas purification cabin. It provides mobile disposal solutions for domestic waste, medical waste, and animal corpses.

People, after reading the news, questioned whether it was intended to burn human corpses.

Chinascope did a search on the Internet and found a related report dated 2018 from the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, Agricultural Committee, Executive Yuan, Taiwan. The report talked about participating in Japan’s “Epidemic Prevention Drill of Mobile Livestock Rendering Facility.” The mobile modules would crush the cow or pig carcass, sterilize the meat slurry, package them into sealed containers, and then send them to the incinerator. Continue reading

Local Government: Xiaogan City, Hubei Province Sealed Residents’ Doors from the Outside

Liberty Times reported that an Internet video showed a scene that was likely to be taken on a street in Xiaogan City, Hubei Province, which had implemented “Wartime Control.”

The video showed that buildings along the street were all sealed from the outside using blocks. People were working on nailing the blocks in place. People watching the video asked how the residents on the inside could escape if there was a fire or how they could go to the hospital if they were infected with the coronavirus.

Local residents reported that, even so, people still managed to get together to play mahjong or cards.

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Lack of Action: “Voice of China” Internally Reported to Higher Ups about Coronavirus on Jan 1

In one of its own documents, the China Media Group (中央广播电视总台), also known as Voice of China, stated that, on January 1, 2020, it released an internal reference report (内参) to the higher ups regarding the coronavirus in Wuhan.

Staff from its Wuhan station conducted research on the issue on December 31 and created two reports, including data, analysis, and recommendations, and circulated them to the higher ups on January 1. It didn’t mention who was included in its circulation, but normally it should have reached the top Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders and the Central government.

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Lack of Action: Both Central and Local Governments Didn’t Do Enough

Ming Pao reported that, according to sources in Beijing, the Wuhan Coronavirus information was reported to the top leaders in early January, but both the Central leader and local leaders didn’t take enough action.

  • At the end of December 2019, China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was involved.
  • In early January, China’s CDC reported to the National Health Committee and top leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
  • On January 6, Gao Fu, head of China’s CDC, requested CDC to start a level II emergency response.
  • On January 7, at the CCP Politburo Standing Committee meeting (coronavirus was not the main topic), Central leaders requested to pay attention on the prevention, but also requested not to create fear that would impact the festival mood of the people celebrating the upcoming Chinese New Year. Hubei and Wuhan didn’t take severe actions.
  • On January 20, Zhong Nanshan stated that the virus could be transmitted from person to person, but it took three days for Hubei and Wuhan to decide to lock down these cities.

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Resuming Work: Jiangxi and Guizhou Provinces Work on Fully Resuming Production

As many provinces are hesitant to resume production out of fear of the coronavirus infection, two provinces in China, Jiangxi and Guizhou, have started working on fully resuming production.

On February 13, after Xi Jinping warned that excessive measures to contain the coronavirus could harm the economy, Jiangxi, a neighboring province of Hubei, called for combining the epidemic prevention efforts and resuming production efforts together. The Paper reported that it is the first province that has tried to resume production. It issued an order on February 16 that businesses do not need to apply for approval to resume production; employees returning to work do not need to provide health certificates; and employees, if not from Hubei province, do not need to be quarantined.

By February 16, Guizhou had removed 1,976 epidemic testing check points including 467 check points on highways. Among its 96 counties and districts (inside major cities), 41 had restored public transit and taxi services and 21 counties had restored intra-province bus services.

[Editor’s Note: Jiangxi Provincial Party Secretary Liu Qi served under Xi when Xi was Zhejiang Provincial Party Secretary. Three previous Guizhou Party Secretaries were Li Zhanshu (Head of People’s Congress), Zhao Kezhi (Minister of Public Security), and Chen Min’er. They were either Xi’s close allies or his subordinates.]

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Infection Count: On February 13, Caixin Questioned Wuhan Infection Number

Caixin is a Beijing-based media group providing financial and business news and information. It was founded in 2010 by Hu Shuli (胡舒立), who was known for his outspoken style.

On February 13, Caixin published an article questioning the accuracy of the officially reported Wuhan infection count. It stated, “How many people have been infected with the novel coronavirus in Wuhan is a mystery.” “Chen Yixin, Deputy Director of the Central government’s epidemic control leading group, pointed out that we should have a clear understanding of the uncertainty of the Wuhan epidemic. The base of Wuhan’s infected patients has not been collected and there is no precise estimate of the scale of the spread either. Some related offices have estimated that the potential infection count at Wuhan may possibly be very high.”

It then quoted a paper on medRxiv which stated that the conservative estimate would be 54,000 infected and the high estimate would be 90,000. According to China’s official number, as of February 13, Wuhan had 32,994 infection cases.

[Editor’s Note: It is rare to see Caixin, a Chinese media, questioning the official number. Its estimate may not mean much as it still faces political constraint on how high a number it can report.]

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Local Government: Beijing Asked for “Patient’s Privacy” to Be Protected

On February 14, 2020, after the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Party Committee issued a “Wartime Status Order” and called for “political security” and “information security,” the Beijing Medical Association, the Beijing Medical Doctor’s Association, and the Beijing Preventive Medical Association jointly issued a proposal to “protect the privacy of the patients and their families.”

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Source: Beijing News, February 14, 2020