China to reform disease prevention system after Covid-19 exposes weaknesses

A member of a medical team weeps at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport after travel restrictions to leave Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and China's epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak, were lifted, on April 8 2020.
A member of a medical team weeps at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport after travel restrictions to leave Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and China's epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak, were lifted, on April 8 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Aly Song

China will reform its disease prevention and control system to address weaknesses exposed by the coronavirus outbreak, a senior health official said on Saturday.

China has been criticised domestically and abroad as being initially slow to react to the epidemic, which first broke out on a large scale in Wuhan. The virus has since spread across the world, infecting almost 4-million people and killing almost a quarter-million from the Covid-19 disease it causes.

"This coronavirus epidemic is a big test of our country's governance and governing ability, and it exposed the weak links in how we address major epidemic and public health systems," Li Bin, vice minister of the China National Health Commission, told reporters.

The commission intends to build a "centralised and efficient" chain of command and reform, and modernise the disease prevention and control system, he said.

The commission also aims to make better use of big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing to better analyse the disease, trace the virus and distribute resources.

He said the commission plans to step up research on core technology, improve medical insurance and better ensure the availability of emergency materials.

China has not seen any new deaths from coronavirus for 24 days. 

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.