Coronavirus: China’s Xi Jinping visits Wuhan as fears of recession grip world

China’s president visited the center of the global virus outbreak Tuesday as Italy began a sweeping nationwide travel ban and people worldwide braced for the possibility of recession.

President Xi Jinping’s trip to the coronavirus’ epicenter of Wuhan — his first since the start of the outbreak — came as parts of his country return to normalcy, and was a sign of the diminishing threat the illness presents in China as it spreads west.

Nowhere was that more evident than Italy, where travel restrictions previously limited to the country’s north were extended everywhere beginning Tuesday, with soldiers and police enforcing bans. Some 9,172 people were infected in Italy and 463 have died and there was a growing sense the numbers would only worsen.

“We’re only at the beginning,” said Dr. Massimo Galli, head of infectious disease at Sacco Hospital in Milan, where people at the city’s main train station were required to sign forms certifying the necessity of their travel.

Outbreaks flared in France, Spain and Germany, and fear grew in the United States, where more than 750 people are infected and even some senior political leaders were quarantined.

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