Is the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak threatening Xi’s hold on power?

A deadly coronavirus outbreak in China’s Wuhan is proving to be one of the biggest tests of President Xi Jinping’s eight-year leadership.

The rapid spread of the disease, which was first detected in late December, prompted Chinese authorities to place the central city and its surrounding areas under an unprecedented lockdown, confining millions to their homes.

Since the drastic measure was announced on January 23, anger has grown on Chinese social media, with some accusing authorities of withholding information from the public and being slow to react when the virus was first detected.

Some 636 people have died in the outbreak, while at least 31,161 others have fallen sick, according to the government on Friday.

Also on Friday, the Wuhan Central Hospital announced that Dr Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who got in trouble with authorities in the communist country for sounding an early warning about the virus outbreak, has died.

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