KEY POINTS

  • Wuhan Mayor confessed his government didn't release information 'timely'
  • Zhou revealed 5 million residents had left the city before lockdown
  • He admitted the city saw large scale human-to-human transmission
  • Over 2,700 cases of Coronavirus have been reported so far
  • Xi Jinping called said measures are being taken to control the infection

The mayor of Wuhan has offered to resign after admitting that his government "withheld information" about the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak from the public.

Zhou Xianwang confessed that his government did not "timely" release the information about the crisis and there was a human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus on a large scale within the city, The Daily Mail reported.

On Sunday, Zhou said that nearly five million Wuhan residents had left the city before the Thursday lockdown. Following the accusations of covering up the truth about the epidemic, Zhou made the latest comments to state broadcaster CCTV today.

Hoping that the public would understand, during an interview which was live-streamed, he said information is disclosed according to law.

"On one hand, we did not reveal [information] timely; on the other, we did not use effective information to improve our work to a satisfactory level," Zhou said. "Regarding the untimely disclosure, [I] hope everyone can understand. [Coronavirus] is a contagious disease. Contagious diseases have relevant law and information needs to be disclosed according to law."

"As a local government, after I receive the information, [I] can only release it after being authorised. [Many people] could not understand this at the time," he further added.

The Chinese officials Monday confirmed that there are over 2,700 confirmed cases of the Wuhan virus in China of which more than 450 people are in critical condition and 80 people who have succumbed to the virus. A 9-month-old girl in Beijing is the youngest patient. 5 cases in Hong Kong and 2 in Macao have been reported. On Monday, South Korea confirmed its fourth case. The U.S., Thailand, Taiwan, Japan,  Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France, Canada, and Australia have also confirmed cases of coronavirus.

In the U.S., cases have been reported in Washington state, Chicago, southern California, and Arizona.

Meanwhile, to combat the fatal disease, China has extended the Lunar New Year holiday to keep the public at home and avoid spreading the infection further. In order to "reduce mass gatherings" and “block the spread of the epidemic,” the busiest travel season was pushed back to Sunday from Thursday, a Cabinet statement said.

To contain the disease, Hong Kong has barred the entry of visitors from Wuhan and travel agencies have been ordered to cancel group tours nationwide. Not just that, planes, trains and buses linked to the city of the center of the epidemic have been suspended too. A total of 17 cities with over 50 million people have been locked down, as per Fox News.

Amid the crisis, the U.S. Consulate, the French government, and Japan are all planning to evacuate their respective nationals out of Wuhan. The outbreak will affect all the China-based companies but the biggest impact will be on travel, hotels, and restaurants, according to forecasters.

Calling the situation grave, Chinese President Xi Jinping said his government is taking the stock of the situation and rushing medical staff and supplies to Wuhan.

A city of 11 million people in central China, Wuhan, is where the virus was first detected last month.