But between January 20 and 23, Xi Jinping made a 180-degree shift. He triggered unprecedented measures, while at the same time taking cover, quite literally and figuratively. A video from the Standing Committee of the Chinese Political Bureau shows the seven leaders talking, rather than listening to the first of them. Amid the crisis, a collective leadership has seemingly reappeared. Almost absent from the public eye, Xi Jinping triggered a general mobilization and radical measures to curb the epidemic, even calling it a "people's war" against "the devil". During his first public visit, on February 11, he showed attentiveness, modesty and promoted the precautionary principle: not shaking hands, and taking one's temperature.
The human-to-human transmission, obvious from the cases of doctors in the first days of January, was only recognized on January 20.