Xi defends China's efforts to stop 'grim and complex' coronavirus epidemic

Xi defends China's efforts to stop 'grim and complex' coronavirus epidemic
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Chinese President Xi Jinping defended China’s efforts to contain the “grim and complex” coronavirus epidemic in the country Sunday.

The Chinese president addressed officials leading anti-disease efforts in a video conference calling for them to take more steps to prevent the virus, revitalize the economy and stop the disease from affecting the planting of spring crops, according to the the Xinhua News Agency, The Associated Press reported

The president called for officials to “deploy medical forces” to “cut off the source of infection,” according to the news agency. 

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Xi reportedly said during the conference that the Communist Party’s response to the “still grim and complex” epidemic was “timely and effective,” despite criticism from the public that officials did not act fast enough.

The Chinese president also warned that the situation is in a “critical stage,” as people around the world hope the disease is contained. 

“The current epidemic situation is still grim and complex,” Chinese news agency Xinhua cited Xi as saying. “Prevention and control are at the most critical stage.”

China faces the challenge of attempting to stop the virus, while still maintaining a functioning economy, which has effectively been shut down since late January. Xi called for “low-risk areas” to “fully restore production” while higher-risk areas continue to deal with the epidemic.

“We must promptly solve the outstanding problems that affect spring plowing and organize production, circulation and supply of materials to ensure production does not miss the farming time,” Xi was cited by Xinhua as saying, according to AP. 

Xi called the coronavirus the “fastest spread” disease and the “most difficult prevention and control” since the Communist Party took control in 1949.

The coronavirus has infected more than 78,000 people worldwide and caused almost 2,500 deaths, most of which are in mainland China, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.