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Xi calls for reforming public health systems



President Xi Jinping participates in a discussion with National People’s Congress deputies from Hubei province on May 24, 2020 in Beijing. [Photo/Xinhua]

Disease control, prevention crucial for social stability, national security

China will reform its disease prevention and control system to improve the capabilities in pandemic monitoring and emergency response, President Xi Jinping said on Sunday.

The prevention of major pandemics and resolving public health risks are of great significance for national security and social stability, which should be planned from an overall perspective, Xi said.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks while speaking with deputies from Hubei province at the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature.

China’s health systems have played an important role in dealing with the novel coronavirus outbreak, but shortcomings have also been exposed, Xi said, adding that more reform measures are needed to plug gaps.

Xi pointed out that prevention is the most effective and economic strategy, and the operation of disease prevention institutions should be improved.

Xi said the system of surveillance for unknown diseases and abnormal health incidents should be reformed and risks should be analyzed at an early stage. He also instructed authorities to strengthen capacity building in the response to outbreaks.

Coordinated efforts must be made in the response of hospitals, cooperation between regions and mobilization of personnel in emergencies, Xi said, adding that the building of national and regional medical centers should be strengthened.

He instructed authorities to speed up the creation of a comprehensive set of public health laws and regulations and improve the system for enforcing laws on disease prevention and control.

The president urged authorities to improve the environment in urban and rural areas, bolster public health infrastructure and promote health education and healthy lifestyles, including social distancing, wearing masks outdoors and trash sorting.

The people in Hubei and its capital, Wuhan, have made great contributions in the fight against COVID-19, Xi said, adding that he extended best wishes and thanks to the heroic people of Hubei and Wuhan.

He cautioned that disease prevention measures should be continuously enforced to prevent imported cases or a resurgence of COVID-19, given that the virus is still spreading widely overseas, cases still exist in some places in the nation and separate cases are confirmed in Hubei from time to time.

As the most hard-hit Chinese province that underwent the most restrictions for the longest time, Hubei is facing many difficulties in reactivating its economy, Xi said.

The CPC Central Committee has written policies to support the economic and social development of Hubei, he said, adding that local authorities should coordinate disease prevention work with development.

Xi instructed local officials to use targeted measures in communities, increase medical test coverage, speed up resumption of work and production and help enterprises resolve problems.

He stressed the importance of employing college graduates and migrant workers; providing help to resolve people’s problems with pensions, healthcare and education; working hard to fulfill the poverty elimination goal; and paying attention to patients’ psychological health.

Central authorities and State-owned enterprises should increase supportive measures for Hubei and implement those measures as soon as possible, he said.

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