Trudeau defends Canada's early response to COVID-19 but admits room for improvement

·1 min read

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there are ways to improve Canada's early pandemic alert and response systems, but insists Canada's top public health officials did start building a national response to COVID-19 very early on.

Trudeau says he welcomes a report the government commissioned reviewing Canada's Global Public Health Intelligence Network, known as GPHIN, which was published Monday.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu ordered the review last year after concerns some Public Health Agency of Canada scientists raised concerns that early warnings about COVID-19 were ignored.

The three-member review team led by former national security adviser Margaret Bloodworth says GPHIN could not have alerted Canadian officials to the existence of unexplained cases of pneumonia in China any earlier than it did.

But they found there is much room to improve how the public health agency and other government departments use that information to ready the country for a possible pandemic.

Trudeau says there are "always things we could have, should have done better" and the plan is to find those things and fix them before the next public health threat appears.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 13, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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