President Xi Jinping warned on Saturday that the new outbreak of the coronavirus is "accelerating" and the country is facing a "grave situation", as the authorities put more restrictions on travel including suspension of all domestic and outbound group tours.
Xi told a meeting of the elite Politburo Standing Committee that China can "win the battle" against the virus epidemic that has infected over 1,200 people across the country.
This is the second public comment the president had made on the crisis as the authorities put around 46 million people under lockdown to contain the outbreak.
"Faced with the grave situation of an accelerating spread of the new coronavirus... it is necessary to strengthen the centralised and unified leadership of the Party Central Committee," Xi said, according to official news agency Xinhua.
"As long as we have steadfast confidence, work together, scientific prevention and cures, and precise policies, we will definitely be able to win the battle," he was quoted as saying.
This comes as authorities imposed more drastic controls on the movement of people. According to state-run People's Daily, "all passenger transport by road" that crosses in and out of Beijing will be suspended starting on Sunday, citing "requirements of epidemic prevention and control".
The China News Service meanwhile reported that all outbound tour packages will be stopped after Tuesday. Those scheduled to travel Sunday and Monday will be allowed to proceed if there are no health issues, it said. (AFP, RTHK)
Country facing a grave situation, warns President Xi
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