Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After a high-level meeting to address the deadly coronavirus, China's leaders are prescribing even tighter information controls around the outbreak.

Why it matters: The suppression of vital information about the coronavirus during its earliest weeks of transmission contributed to the devastating epidemic China is now facing.

Driving the news: In a Feb. 3 meeting, the Politburo standing committee called for authorities to "strengthen internet and media control" (link in Chinese).

  • “The outbreak is a major test of China’s system and capacity for governance, and we must sum up the experience and draw a lesson from it,” a meeting statement warned, per Bloomberg.

The early days of the epidemic marked a period of unusual openness for Chinese journalists to do high-impact reporting. Privately owned Chinese news outlets Caixin and Caijing published report after report documenting the victims and spread of the illness.

  • But that brief period has already shown signs of ending, as a spate of Chinese-language articles have now been removed, including a Feb. 1 Caijing article that claimed the number of cases and deaths was being underreported.

Go deeper: Here's a compilation of the best of Chinese media reporting over the past few weeks, archived and translated.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 19,477,290 — Total deaths: 723,531 — Total recoveries — 11,801,489Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2. p.m. ET: 4,983,026 — Total deaths: 162,181 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid.
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive actions to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.

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Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.