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China’s Xi knew of crisis weeks before going public

President Xi Jinping on Sunday published a timeline of his actions to combat the coronavirus racing through China as the Communist Party worked to tamp down criticism of the government’s handling of the crisis.

The timeline, however, indicates Xi was aware of the outbreak’s severity two weeks before revealing the information publicly. The latest revelation comes as a U.S. health official said at least 40 Americans on a cruise ship in Japan are infected with the deadly new virus.

The timeline is part of a speech Xi gave to party leaders Feb. 3 that was published over the weekend in state media. Xi outlined the government response to the COVID-19 outbreak that he warned could jeopardize health as well as economic and social stability.

“I issued demands during a Politburo Standing Committee meeting on Jan. 7 for work to contain the outbreak,” Xi said in the speech. “On Jan. 20, I gave special instructions about the work to prevent and control the outbreak.”

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