China admits Covid-19 exposed gaps in healthcare system


China has stepped up a campaign to shift blame for the coronavirus pandemic by using fake social media accounts to promote conspiracy theories about the source of the virus, the State Department said, as Beijing increasingly adopts Russian-style disinformation techniques.

The number of existing confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the Chinese mainland dropped to 260 for Thursday, the lowest since January 20, said a national health official Friday.

Australia has called for an global investigation into the origins and spread of the virus that emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late a year ago.

"Our border frontier regions are comparatively weak in the prevention and control of major epidemics, and can hardly meet the needs for disease monitoring, lab testing, or medical treatment", he said at a news conference in Beijing.

People's awareness of preventing public health emergencies should be raised, and a unified and efficient leadership and command system on the public health emergency response should be established, Li said.

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Their stings can cause kidney damage, tissue necrosis and anaphylactic shock in humans, which can lead to death. Normally, these hornets make their home in the mountains and forests of eastern and southeast Asia.

The mainland reported no new imported cases Thursday, a first since February 28, and the total number of imported cases is 1,680, said Mi Feng, a spokesperson for the National Health Commission, at a press conference in Beijing.

As the most authoritative and professional worldwide institution on global public health security, the WHO plays an irreplaceable key role in responding to the global public health crisis, Hua said.

The comments came after US President Donald Trump ramped up criticism of China this week, saying the virus "could have been stopped in China".

Most of the asymptomatic cases were being reported from first coronavirus epicentres Hubei province and its capital Wuhan where no confirmed cases were reported for the 35 days, the local health commission said.