China has “removed” several senior officials over their handling of the coronavirus outbreak – as the death toll passed 1,000.
The party secretary for the Hubei Health Commission, and the head of the commission, were among those who lost their jobs.
They are the most senior officials to be demoted so far.
Deputy director of the local Red Cross was also removed for “dereliction of duty” over “handling of donations”.
The number of new infections nationally was down almost 20% from the day before, from 3,062 to 2,478.
Speaking to Reuters news agency, leading Chinese respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan said the virus was hitting a peak in China this month and that the outbreak may be over by April.
He said he was basing the forecast on mathematical modelling, recent events and government action. However, Zhong’s previous forecast of an earlier peak turned out to be premature.