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As Italy locks down, parts of China return to normalcy

China’s leader visited the epicenter of the global coronavirus epidemic Tuesday, state media reported, in a sign authorities in the country believe the threat from the illness that has stoked fears of a worldwide recession was diminishing. 

But Xi Jinping’s trip to Wuhan, where he spent time speaking with patients at a hospital and encouraged medics to “firm up confidence in defeating the epidemic,” came as the virus continues to spread west and a nationwide lockdown in Italy, a nation of 60 million and the world’s eighth largest economy, got underway.

China recorded just 19 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, according to the Xinhua News Agency. While more than 3,000 people in China have died from the disease since it emerged in Wuhan in December, almost three-fourths of China’s more than 80,000 patients have recovered. Meanwhile, 14 makeshift hospitals constructed in Wuhan to care for the sick have been closed and public places closed for weeks amid the outbreak will reopen once they have been disinfected.   

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