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Change in frontline commanders sign defense has turned to attack: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-02-13 19:18

Medical staff receive a patient infected with the novel coronavirus at the temporary hospital converted from Wuhan Sports Center in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, Feb 12, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Having seemingly successfully contained the novel coronavirus epidemic in Hubei province, the Communist Party of China Central Committee demonstrated its firm intent to bring the epidemic to an end in the province by changing the leaders on the front line of the fight against the virus on Thursday.

The Party chiefs of Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, were replaced respectively by the Shanghai mayor and the Party chief of Jinan, Shandong province.

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.

One day before the change of local leaders, the province announced an alarming jump in the number of people confirmed infected with the virus. The daily increase of 14,840 — 13,436 in Wuhan — was more than seven times that of the day before, and accounted for nearly one-third of the overall amount of infected cases the province has reported since the onset of the epidemic earlier last month.

However, this heralds the new front line commanders will take a more proactive approach to defeating the virus, as the hike was due to the province, without any forewarning, confirming infections by replacing the comparatively complicated genetic analysis with quicker CT scans.

The change in diagnostic procedure will make a big difference to the situation in Hubei, as it will help patients get treatment more quickly, which has been shown to improve the chances of recovery.

Also on Thursday, showing that the central authorities are now eager to get on the front foot, another 2,600 military medical professionals, and 3,170 non-military doctors and nurses in 21 teams from elsewhere in the country were sent to the province, which has already received about 21,500 medical staff in total, swelling the ranks responding to the statistical growth in the number of infected cases in the province and increasing the number of sick beds available.

Thanks to the central authorities' powerful and resolute support, the fast increase of sick beds in Hubei — nearly double in Wuhan for instance within half a month — gives the belated diagnostic procedure reform real significance.

At this critical time, when the fight against the epidemic in Hubei requires effective and responsive execution capabilities, the personnel change, will not only boost the public confidence in the measures being taken but also improve the efficiency of the local prevention and control work by addressing the evident shortcomings, such as poor logistics, which have been criticized by the central government guiding team.

Which dyes Wuhan with a solemn yet noble color, as it is the city's lockdown that has been crucial to largely restraining the "devil epidemic" where it appeared.

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