Although China’s leader Xi Jinping is facing anger over the government’s initial coronavirus response, the recent introduction of outbreak-related surveillance measures, many of them unlikely to disappear when the epidemic is over, have given Xi an opening to assert even tighter control over society. Meanwhile, as cases balloon elsewhere, Chinese are striking a more optimistic tone as recovered patients start heading home from hospitals.
The Washington Post: Coronavirus Tests Xi Jinping’s ‘Heavenly Mandate,’ But Proves A Godsend For China’s Surveillance State
Ancient Chinese doctrine has it that when heaven is unhappy with the emperor, it signals its displeasure by raining down disasters such as floods, plagues, and swarms of locusts. The philosopher Mencius said a ruler could lose his “mandate of heaven” if he neglected his responsibility to care for the ordinary people. These beliefs, still widespread, should concern China’s modern-day emperor, Xi Jinping, as the country battles a coronavirus epidemic and braces for an invasion of locusts. There are no floods, although this winter Beijing recorded its highest rainfall in Xi’s lifetime. (Fifield, 3/3)
The Associated Press: Virus Alarms Sound Worldwide, But China Sees Crisis Ebbing
Iranians hoarded medical supplies, Italians urged doctors out of retirement and South Koreans prepared to pump billions into relief efforts Tuesday as the virus epidemic firmed its hold around the globe. Mushrooming outbreaks in the Mideast, Europe and South Korea contrasted with optimism in China, where thousands of recovered patients were going home. A growing outbreak in the United States led schools and subways to sanitize, quickened a search for a vaccine, and spread fears of vulnerability for nursing home residents. (3/3)
The New York Times: Coronavirus Updates: Chinese Cities Announce New Travel Restrictions
Major cities across China have announced new travel restrictions on people who have recently visited countries where coronavirus infections are on the rise. On Tuesday, the authorities in Shanghai said that all travelers entering the city who have visited countries with significant outbreaks within the last two weeks must undergo a 14-day quarantine at home or at an approved isolation facility. Officials in Guangdong Province announced similar measures, the state media reported on Tuesday. (3/3)
The Wall Street Journal: European Nations Diverge On How To Curb Virus Outbreak
European governments are divided in their response to the coronavirus, which has rapidly hopped across borders on the densely populated continent, as they seek to balance protecting public health with economic disruption. Countries including Italy, France, Britain and Switzerland have taken an aggressive approach, banning large events and ordering large-scale blanket screenings. Germany, Austria, Spain and most Scandinavian countries, on the other hand, have stressed the need for moderation to limit the impact of the disease—and of the response—on society and the economy. (Pancevski, Legorano and Douglas, 3/2)
The New York Times: He Blames ‘Evil’ For South Korea’s Coronavirus Surge. Officials Blame Him.
To his followers, he is a descendant of the ancient kings who ruled Korea centuries ago, “the angel” Jesus sent for mankind, and the one and only “counselor” who can interpret the symbols and secret codes hidden in the Bible’s Book of Revelation. To officials and politicians, he is a villain, the leader of a religious cult who is thwarting the government’s efforts to contain the exploding coronavirus outbreak in South Korea. (Sang-Hun, 3/2)
The Associated Press: North Korean Swagger May Conceal Brewing Virus Disaster
In these days of infection and fear, a recent propaganda photo sums up the image North Korea wants to show the world, as well as its people: Soldiers with black surgical masks surround leader Kim Jong Un, ensconced in a leather overcoat and sans mask as he oversees a defiant military drill. As a new and frightening virus closes in around it, North Korea presents itself as a fortress, tightening its borders as cadres of health officials stage a monumental disinfection and monitoring program. (Klug, 3/3)
Reuters: WHO Technical Team Arrives In Iran To Support Coronavirus Response
A team from the World Health Organization (WHO) arrived in Tehran on Monday to support Iran’s response to a coronavirus outbreak, the WHO said on Monday. “The plane carrying the technical team also contained a shipment of medical supplies and protective equipment to support over 15,000 health care workers, as well as laboratory kits enough to test and diagnose nearly 100,000 people,” it said. (3/2)
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