The director of China’s disease control and prevention centre, Gao Fu, on May 23 reportedly said that public criticism over the initial coronavirus outbreak was understandable. While speaking to international media reports, Gao said that it is ‘very normal’ to receive criticism from the public as the outbreak first emerged in China last year. He also said that country accepts the criticism with ‘humility’.
While countries including the United States and Australia have been criticising Beijing over lack of transparency during the early days, Gao reportedly said that China’s disease control centre should improve its epidemic reporting mechanism and address the severe talent drain in the wake of the virus outbreak. Furthermore, he even went to say that there were some weaknesses that were exposed in his agency, however, he also added that Beijing’s response was ‘good’ compared with other countries as it had to handle a ‘closed-book exam’.
As the Chinese scientists are still unable to establish how the virus was passed on to humans, Gao reportedly urged the public to give them more time to understand the deadly virus. He added that the competition among countries to develop a coronavirus vaccine is ‘positive’. Moreover, Gao also informed that the nation is negotiating with various countries on the cooperation of vaccine research and development. He said that the authorities are discussing at what point the nation needs to bring in the competition via intellectual property protection to speed up the progress.
Meanwhile, China reported no new confirmed case of coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began. While the country has recorded more than 82,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 4,634 death related to the virus, China has also seen a sharp decline in locally transmitted cases.
During the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA), China’s President Xi Jinping also pledged that any COVID-19 vaccine developed in the country will be made ‘global public good’ as Beijing’s contribution to the pandemic response. He added that Beijing will work with the United Nations to set up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China. Furthermore, Jinping said that Beijing will ensure the operation of anti-epidemic supply chains through ‘green corridors’ for fast-track transportation and customs clearance. He also made a pledge of $2 billion of contribution over two years to help COVID-19 response and displayed support for a review of the pandemic response.