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China Acknowledges That Covid-19 Exposes The 'Weak Links' Of The Health System

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Prime Minister Li Keqiang (Source: AFP)

Prime Minister Li Keqiang has rarely acknowledged that the Covid-19 acute respiratory infection revealed "many weak links" in the health system, amid Beijing's criticism of the initial response to the Disease.

Speaking to the National Assembly on May 22, Prime Minister Li Keqiang pledged to uphold the principle that "life is the most important" and to improve the public health system.

He also promised to improve disease control and prevention systems, improve early warning systems and infectious disease reporting systems, to ensure information is published in a timely, open and transparent manner.

In addition, Mr. Li Keqiang pledged to increase investment in the research and development of vaccines and treatments, as well as building more medical facilities.

After the SARS pandemic broke out in 2013, Beijing concluded that greater transparency could have helped fight the pandemic and has since invested heavily in building an advanced reporting system for with infectious diseases to prevent future information hiding.

But after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government was forced to admit that much work still needs to be done to improve China's response to major pandemics and meet people's expectations.

Li Keqiang's comments come as the Chinese face an increasing domestic and foreign criticism of how to respond to the Covid-19 epidemic at an early stage.

Li Keqiang acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic was the fastest, widest and most challenging public health problem that China has faced since 1949 when the People's Republic of China was established.

So far, the pandemic has infected more than 82,000 people and more than 4,600 people have died in China since the outbreak began in Wuhan City, Hubei Province in December last year.

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