“Some localities and departments were at a loss in how to react to this sudden epidemic,” Mr. Xi said. “Some protective measures went through abrupt changes, and in some areas there was even lawless and criminal conduct that seriously impeded containing the epidemic, and there was public dissatisfaction about this.”
Mr. Xi did not elaborate on what he meant by criminal conduct. Chinese news media outlets have reported cases of officials neglecting stricken families, as well as crude, unhygienic efforts to transfer patients.
After more than a month of emergency measures that have locked down cities, towns and villages, and shut down much transportation, commerce and industry, China appears to be taming the new coronavirus that emerged late last year in Wuhan, a city in the country’s center. On Saturday, China officially recorded 573 new infections, and another 35 deaths, from the virus.
One notable thing was what Mr. Xi did not say.
Many Chinese people, including health experts, have said that the epidemic illustrated the risks to public health created by official censorship, which early in the epidemic led to doctors being silenced by the authorities after they discussed the outbreak with colleagues. One of those doctors, Li Wenliang, himself died from the virus, making him into a martyr-like symbol of the costs of speaking out.
But Mr. Xi gave no indication that loosening censorship was on his agenda. The government, he said, would continue to crack down on “concocting and spreading rumors” — the accusation that the police in Wuhan leveled against Dr. Li.
Reporting was contributed by Sheri Fink, Choe Sang-hun, Motoko Rich, Knvul Sheikh, Alissa J. Rubin, Mike Baker, Michael Crowley, Keith Bradsher, Raymond Zhong, Iliana Magra, Tess Felder, Norimitsu Onishi, Noah Weiland and Mihir Zaveri.