President Xi Jinping stressed fortifying the public health protection network when participating in a deliberation at the annual national legislative session.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks Sunday afternoon when joining in discussions with lawmakers from central China's Hubei Province.
Xi stressed reforming disease prevention and control system; boosting the epidemic monitoring, early warning and emergency response capacity; perfecting the treatment system for major epidemics; and improving public health emergency laws and regulations.
He commended the vital contributions and enormous sacrifices made by the people in Hubei and its capital city of Wuhan in fighting COVID-19, and expressed his sincere appreciation.
Noting the continued spread of the virus overseas, clusters of cases in some domestic areas, sporadic cases in Hubei and daily increases of new asymptomatic infections, Xi urged continued efforts to forestall both imported cases and domestic resurgence to ensure that the hard-won progress in epidemic containment is not lost.
Xi said the most imperative task for Hubei is to spare no efforts to coordinate COVID-19 prevention and control and economic and social development, stressing paying close attention to addressing possible "post-epidemic syndromes."
China's public health and medical service systems have played their key roles in dealing with the epidemic, but some weak links and inadequacies were also exposed, Xi said, urging prompt efforts to fix them.
Noting that prevention is the most economic and effective health strategy, Xi emphasized more targeted and effective prevention and the fulfillment of responsibilities for reporting infectious disease epidemics and public health emergencies.
The key to epidemic monitoring and early warning lies in timeliness and accuracy, Xi said, calling for improving the monitoring mechanism for diseases of unknown causes and abnormal health incidents, and establishing a smart multi-point trigger system for early warning, among others.
Xi ordered strengthening capacity building to deal with major epidemics and organizing drills and training.
He also spoke of the need to build infrastructures including national medical centers and regional medical treatment centers, and the need to boost the system of public health laws and regulations.
Xi called for adopting the philosophy of full life cycle management throughout the whole process of urban planning, construction and management, faster development of a public health system that fits into the country's rapidly-advancing urbanization and densely-populated cities, and consistent efforts to improve rural living environments.
He stressed promoting and upholding the practices including wearing masks, sorting garbage, social distancing and online reservation for hospital visits, which have become a social norm in China.