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. 2020 May 21;e1-e4.
doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2020.305732. Online ahead of print.

Policy Lessons From Early Reactions to the COVID-19 Virus in China

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Policy Lessons From Early Reactions to the COVID-19 Virus in China

Yu Liu et al. Am J Public Health. .

Abstract

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 virus outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020. Although the Chinese central government implemented significant measures to control the epidemic from January 20 within China, the crisis had already escalated dramatically.Between December 1, 2019, and January 20, 2020, a total of 51 days passed before the Chinese central government took full control. Several major factors combined to cause what had been in retrospect a clear break in the governmental information chain between December 1 and January 20. The management of this epidemic also illustrated key organizational limitations of the current Chinese health system, in particular provincial-level senior officials' lack of knowledge and awareness of potential public health risks and insufficient emergency medical material storage and logistics arrangements.We review the specific disease control actions that the Chinese central government took between January 20 and January 27, the major reasons why the governmental information chain had broken before January 20, and key structural health system limitations highlighted as the epidemic expanded. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print May 21, 2020: e1-e4. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2020.305732).

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