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Beijing [China], January 19 (ANI): After an independent panel slammed China for acting "too slowly" on the COVID-19 outbreak, an under-fire China responded to the criticism by saying that it agrees there is always room for improvement, while denying that the country was poorly handling the pandemic.

CNN quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying as saying: "About this I want to say that we should certainly try to do better. I think any country, including China, the US, the UK, Japan, and any other country, should try to do better, because I think there is always no best, only better, when it comes to public health issues."She further blamed the Western media for portraying the message that China mishandled the pandemic and said that the idea that China should aim to work better is not the same as saying it was not doing well.

"The former means that we need to constantly reform ourselves, improve ourselves, and constantly improve our ability to govern, aiming at absolute perfection. I think this is precisely why China can continue to develop and make progress. The latter may be somewhat biased and carping," said Hua.

In a report released on Monday, the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, established by WHO in May 2020 and co-chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, slammed China and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for "early shortcomings" in the initial response to the coronavirus pandemic.

China was also slammed by the panel for "lost opportunities to apply basic public health measures at the earliest opportunity.""What is clear to the panel is that public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January," the report said as quoted by CNN.

This comes after UK's former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Ian Duncan Smith labelled Beijing's act of covering up vital information pertaining to COVID-19 as despicable.

Last week, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that the pandemic was avoidable and that Beijing did not reveal vital information about the virus, which would have helped scientists to save the world from the disease.

China has been criticised widely across the world for its alleged role in the spread of the novel coronavirus that has infected over 95 million people across the world. More than 2 million people have lost their lives to the virus, as per Johns Hopkins University. (ANI)

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