Coronavirus: Senior Chinese officials ‘removed’ as death toll hits 1,000

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China has “removed” several senior officials over their handling of the coronavirus outbreak – as the death toll passed 1,000.

The party secretary for the Hubei Health Commission, and the head of the commission, were among those who lost their jobs. They are the most senior officials to be demoted so far. The deputy director of the local Red Cross was also removed for “dereliction of duty” over “handling of donations”.

On Monday, some 103 died in Hubei province alone, a daily record, and the national death toll is now 1,016. But the number of new infections nationally was down almost 20% from the day before, from 3,062 to 2,478.

Hubei’s health commission confirmed 2,097 new cases in the province on Monday, down from 2,618 the previous day.

According to state media, there have been hundreds of sackings, investigations and warnings across Hubei and other provinces during the outbreak.

But removal from a certain role – while regarded as a censure – does not always mean the person will be sacked entirely, as it can also mean demotion. And as well as being removed from their posts, officials can also be punished by the ruling Communist Party.

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