China prepares to declare VICTORY over coronavirus outbreak as President Xi visits quarantined residents

Chinese President Xi Jinping has visited Wuhan for the first time since the city emerged as the centre of the coronavirus epidemic in January - a major sign that Beijing believes the outbreak is under control.

The timing of Xi's visit indicates that China is ready to declare victory over the health crisis, which has killed at least 3,136 people in the nation and 4,062 worldwide, according to experts.

Xi today inspected a 1,000-bed hospital constructed in 10 days to fight the deadly disease before touring a local community to call on residents in quarantine.

His visit came as Wuhan authorities have closed all of the city's 14 makeshift 'fang cang' hospitals - which were converted from sports halls and exhibition centres - after they treated some 12,000 patients.

It also came as unprecedented quarantine measures that have sealed off the city of 11 million and the rest of central Hubei province since late January appear to have paid off, with new infections dropping dramatically in recent weeks.

China's progress stands in stark contrast with the growing global crisis, with cases now growing at a faster pace abroad, and Italy enacting its nationwide lockdown.

More than 100 countries are now fighting the contagion, which has infected over 114,400 people globally.

China state newspaper today urged its people to continue their efforts in controlling and preventing the disease to seize the 'victory of a people's war' against the epidemic.

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