January 23, 2021

Coronavirus: Chinese official admits health system weaknesses

The coronavirus pandemic is a “big test” that has exposed weaknesses in China’s public health system, a senior official has told Chinese media.

The rare admission, from Director of China’s National Health Commission Li Bin, comes after sustained criticism abroad of China’s early response.

The country will now improve its disease prevention, public health system and data collection, he says.

China has offered to help North Korea fight the pandemic there.

Mr Li told journalists the pandemic was a significant challenge for China’s governance, and that it exposed “the weak links in how we address major epidemic and the public health system.”

China has been accused of responding too slowly to early signs of the virus in Wuhan, where the outbreak began, and failing to quickly alert the international community of the outbreak.

China has rejected calls for an independent international investigation into the origins of the virus.

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