China State Newspaper Removes Tweet Promoting Wuhan Food Scene As City Ends Coronavirus Lockdown

One of China's state-backed newspapers has apparently deleted a tweet promoting the food scene in the city of Wuhan, after being criticized for celebrating the culinary culture in the place where the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic originated.

People's Daily—the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party—sent the tweet as the city ended its lockdown that began on January 23.

COVID-19 has since spread worldwide, infecting more than 1.4 million people and killing more than 82,000. To date, some 275,000 people have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University.

People's Daily came under fire for its tweet, which declared: "Have a taste of Wuhan! Let these mouth-watering specialties in Wuhan satisfy your stomach."

The COVID-19 outbreak began in Wuhan, a city in central China and the capital of Hubei province. Though not yet confirmed, the coronavirus may have originated at a food market in the city, where live wild animals were illegally traded.

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This Twitter screenshot at 11:00 p.m. on April 7, 2020, shows the now-deleted People's Daily tweet. Twitter

Scientists think that the virus could have originated in bats before passing through an intermediary animal such as pangolins, though researchers are still investigating where and how the sickness emerged.

It remains unclear how the virus jumped from the original host to humans, though it could be through cross-contamination with food later consumed by victims. Given the link between the pandemic and the food market, Twitter users suggested the People's Daily tweet was inappropriate.

The origin of the virus has become a charged political issue as the crisis deepens. China was criticized for initially suppressing news of the outbreak and failing to inform the World Health Organization of its severity. One Chinese official later even suggested that the U.S. Army was behind the virus's appearance in Wuhan.

A U.S. intelligence report sent to the White House last month suggested that the CCP had also covered up the true number of infections and deaths in the country from coronavirus. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are among those who have criticized China for its lack of transparency on the pandemic.

Trump, Pompeo and others have sought to pin blame for the pandemic on Beijing. Both have referred to the coronavirus as the "Wuhan Virus" or "Chinese Virus," despite concerns that such rhetoric might encourage racism against Chinese people and those of Asian descent.

Both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned against such rhetoric, but Trump and Pompeo have defended their use of the terms.

Chinese officials and state media have cast Trump's attacks as an effort to shift blame for his confused handling of the crisis. The U.S. now has the most infections of any nation at almost 400,000. So far, almost 13,000 people have died and 22,500 recovered in the U.S.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.
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A medical worker cries while hugging a nurse after working together during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan during a reopening ceremony at the city's Tianhe Airport on April 8, 2020. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images/Getty