China president in rare visit to coronavirus patients, medics

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(Beijing) – Chinese President Xi Jinping donned a face mask and had his temperature checked Monday while visiting medical workers and patients affected by the deadly coronavirus that has killed more than 900 people.

The Chinese president, who has called the virus a “demon”, made a rare public appearance amid the outbreak to meet frontline medical staff at a hospital treating infected patients.

Calling the situation at the virus epicentre “still very grave”, Xi urged “more decisive measures” to contain the spread of the epidemic, said state broadcaster CCTV.

Xi has largely kept out of the public eye since the virus outbreak spiralled across the country from Hubei province to infect more than 40,000 people.

He appointed Premier Li Keqiang to lead a group tackling the outbreak, and it was Li who visited ground zero in Wuhan last month.

On Monday Xi put on a blue mask and white surgical gown to meet doctors at Beijing Ditan hospital, observe the treatment of patients and speak via video link to doctors in Wuhan, state media said.