Politburo Standing Committee called for improvements following difficulties exposed in response to the epidemic
Chinas top leadership has admitted shortcomings and difficulties in its response to the coronavirus outbreak, as state media said a new hospital built at breakneck pace began receiving patients in the epicentre of the crisis.
Sixty-four new deaths were confirmed on Tuesday surpassing Mondays record to post the new biggest daily increase since the virus was detected late last year in the central city of Wuhan.
The death toll in China stood at 425, exceeding the 349 mainland fatalities from the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak of 2002-03, which killed nearly 800 globally.
The government in Beijing nevertheless hit out at the US for sparking panic with its response to the coronavirus, including a ban on foreigners who have recently been to China.
The virus has so far spread to more than 20 countries, and several other nations have instituted similarly tough rules.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the crisis a global health emergency, and the first foreign death from the virus was confirmed in the Philippines on Sunday.
Chinas elite Politburo Standing Committee called for improvements to the national emergency management system following shortcoming and difficulties exposed in the response to the epidemic, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
It is necessary to strengthen market supervision, resolutely ban and severely crack down on illegal wildlife markets and trade, it added.
The government also said it urgently needed medical equipment and surgical masks, protective suits and safety goggles as it battles to control the outbreak.
Authorities in provinces that are home to more than 300 million people including Guangdong, the countrys most populous have ordered everyone to wear masks in public in an effort to contain the virus.
But factories capable of producing about 20m masks a day are only operating at 60-70% of capacity, industry department spokesman Tian Yulong said, adding that supply and demand remained in tight equilibrium as a result of the lunar new year break.
Tian said authorities were taking steps to bring in masks from Europe, Japan and the US, while the foreign ministry said countries including South Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan and Hungary had donated medical supplies.
All but one of the 57 new deaths reported Monday were in Wuhan and the rest of Hubei province, most of which has been under lockdown for almost two weeks.
With more than 19,500 confirmed infections, the mortality rate for the new coronavirus is much lower than the 9.6% rate for Sars.
In Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have jumped from animals at a market into humans, authorities has been racing to build two new hospitals to treat the infected.
The first of those a 1,000-bed facility began to receive patients Monday, the Peoples Daily reported, just 10 days after construction began, but no details were offered about how many.
The second hospital is due to open later this week.
The virus is taking an increasing economic toll, shutting down businesses, curbing international travel and impacting production lines of major global brands.
The Shanghai stock market plunged almost 8% Monday on the first day of trading since the holiday as investors played catch-up with last weeks global retreat.
In Wuhan, which has been transformed from a bustling industrial hub into a near-ghost town, residents have been living in deep fear of catching the virus.
The citys medical facilities have been overwhelmed, with Xinhua reporting that 68 medical teams of 8,300 staff had been sent to Hubei.
The industrial city of Wenzhou, 800km (497 miles) to the east, was placed under a similar lockdown to Wuhan on Sunday and its 9 million people ordered to stay indoors.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/03/china-shortcomings-difficulties-coronavirus-outbreak