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China overhauls its public health bureaucracy

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Criticized at home and abroad for failing to initially recognize the seriousness of a local outbreak of the unusual illness that was later named COVID-19, China’s government has been pondering reforms to improve its public health response. Finally on 13 May the government announced the creation of a new national agency that will report directly to China’s State Council. If fully realized, this line of communication would bypass the layers of bureaucracy that stymied the timely flow of information from local authorities to top national officials in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak. This delayed not only China’s own response, but its alerts to the rest of the world. The new agency will incorporate the existing Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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