Mr. Xi flew into Wuhan in the morning and raced through several sites in the deeply traumatized city of 11 million people who have remained largely under lockdown for nearly seven weeks. The city and surrounding province of Hubei have accounted for all but 112 of the 3,158 deaths in mainland China.
Mr. Xi stopped at a community center, where he met with party volunteers on the sidewalk, and a hospital specially built in a matter of days in February to treat thousands of the epidemic’s victims, an achievement the government has repeatedly touted as evidence of its ability to marshal resources in a crisis. As he passed an apartment complex, Mr. Xi and other officials looked up to wave at residents who were still required, for the most part, to remain in their homes.
Mr. Xi went out of his way to express sympathy for the plight of the region’s residents and, unusually in a political system that rarely acknowledges mistakes, to express something close to contrition.