China has reported 108 new coronavirus deaths on February 10, the highest daily toll since the outbreak began in Wuhan late last year, as two senior officials in the hard-hit province of Hubei were removed from their jobs.
The total number of deaths on the mainland reached 1,016 in the 24 hours until midnight, the National Health Commission said on Tuesday. Some 2,478 new cases of infection were confirmed, bringing the total to 42,638.
Of the most recent deaths, 103 were in the province of Hubei, including 67 in the provincial capital of Wuhan. The virus is thought to have originated there in a seafood market that sold wild animals as well.
Two senior health officials in the province – Zhang Jin who was party secretary of the health commission for Hubei and Ling Yingzi who was director of the Hubei Provincial Health Commission – were removed from their posts, state media reported on Tuesday, a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited health facilities in Beijing.
In his first public appearance since the outbreak began, Xi donned a face mask and had his temperature checked while visiting medical workers and patients in the capital.
“We have seen very little of Xi Jinping since the outbreak began but he was out and about in Beijing on Monday,” Al Jazeera’s Katrina Yu said from Beijing. “He has been trying to rally the troops saying: ‘We can win this battle.’ But it’s also a sign that the battle is far from over.”
The other fatalities on Monday were in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Anhui and Henan and the cities of Tianjin and Beijing, the National Health Commission said.
During a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Monday, a group of leaders tasked with beating the virus said it would work to solve raw material and labour shortages and boost supplies of masks and protective clothing.
They said nearly 20,000 medical personnel from around the country had already been sent to Wuhan, and more medical teams were also on the way.