Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said Wuhan city had turned the tide against the deadly coronavirus, as he made his first visit to the virus' epicentre in a message that Beijing has the situation under control and vowed to resolutely fight for a victory against the novel COVID-19 outbreak.
Wearing a protective mask and accompanied by a retinue of military and health officials, Xi - who initially came under criticism for not acting in time to stem the virus when it first showed up in December last year, but later won praise for a decisive follow-up action - visited a makeshift hospital and community residents and frontline workers in Wuhan.
Xi, 66, vowed to resolutely fight for a victory in the war against the coronavirus during his inspection tour of Wuhan, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
During his visit, Xi said the spread of coronavirus had been basically curbed in Hubei Province and its capital Wuhan where over 50 million people lived in total isolation since January 23 following a complete lockdown of the areas.
The initial success has been made in stabilising the situation and turning the tide in Hubei and Wuhan, Xi said.
Ahead of the President's visit on Tuesday, China's National Health Commission (NHC) announced a dramatic drop in number of COVID-19 cases both of which fell below 20 mark for the first time since the NHC began daily reporting of cases in later part of January.
While the virus has abated in China, it has spread to over 100 countries. The death toll has reached 4,011 globally with more than 110,000 cases of infection.
Xi said after hard work, the situation in Hubei and Wuhan had shown positive changes with important progress, but the prevention and control task remain arduous.
He praised the sacrifices of people of Wuhan and Hubei province. The positive trend in preventing and controlling the virus could not have been achieved without the sacrifice, devotion, perseverance and hard efforts of the people of Wuhan, Xi said.
With their concrete actions, Wuhan people have demonstrated the strength and spirit of China, as well as the Chinese people's love for the family and the nation, which enables them to stick together through thick and thin, he said.