The federal agency responsible for controlling and preventing outbreaks was not ready for the COVID-19 pandemic and underestimated the threat posed by the CCP virus, a new report by the Audit President said.
According to a report released on March 25, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) issued a warning about the threat of COVID-19, a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, in the early months of Canada. did not. Karen Hogan, Chief Audit & Supervisory Board Member, has signed an agency.was Among the other flaws found, it was not well prepared as needed to cope with the pandemic.
“We found that the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN) was not issuing alerts to provide early virus alerts,” the report said.
“According to official standards, alerts will be issued for unusual events that could have serious consequences or spread. However, when news of unknown pneumonia was first reported, the virus went outside China. No warning was issued when it spread or when a domestic case was first suspected and confirmed. “
GPHIN was created in 1997 to use alerts to warn of serious public threats such as disease outbreaks and infectious diseases. Agency analysts monitor media reports around the world and assess whether threats need to publish media reports.
However, in 2018, PHAC rebuilt GPHIN and removed the analyst’s authority to trigger alerts. “After this change, the number of alerts has dropped significantly,” the report said. The alert required senior management approval.
In 2019 and 2020, only two alerts were issued. From 2015 to 2018, the monthly average decreased significantly from 1 to 2.
As a result of the audit, GPHIN has published a daily report on the CCP virus, the first of which was sent on December 31, 2019, with a link to an article explaining the outbreak of unexplained viral pneumonia in China. Was included. Unlike alerts, daily reports were sent to federal, state, and territory partners only within Canada.
Hogan explained her claim using an example of a smoke detector, stating that there are differences between reports and alerts.
“I have a smoke detector at home. When I’m at home, I believe I’m getting a warning, looking up and seeing what’s going on, and reacting when needed. “Masu”, Mr. Hogan Said During a press conference on March 25th.
“And that is the intent of the warning, to warn of concerns, anomalies, non-daily reports, and what we have seen between H1N1 and SARS in the past, both domestically and internationally. was.”
Audits also revealed that PHAC relied on risk assessment tools that could not accurately assess the threat of illness coming from outside the Canadian border.
“The risk assessment tool was not designed to take into account a pandemic that actually sees the positive spread of the disease, so running the tool several times was rated as low risk for the virus. “Hogan said.
In addition, PHAC did not reassess COVID-19 risk until March 16, 2020, according to the Audit President.
“We reviewed the minutes of the agency’s two major pandemic response committees, but found few discussions on the ongoing low-risk assessment of COVID-19,” Hogan’s report said. I am.
“However, on March 12, 2020, in light of the increasing number of cases, senior state and territory public health authorities raised the need for proactive public health measures, including forced quarantine of international travelers. . “
On March 16, PHAC decided to increase the risk assessment of the general public.
“Public Health Agency of Canada has a reliable and timely risk assessment to guide public health responses to limit the spread of infectious diseases that can cause a pandemic, as shown in the Pandemic Response Plan and Guidance. We need to step up the process of facilitating this, ”Hogan recommended. The PHAC-replied report reviews the process and updates it by December 2022.
Following the release of the report, Health Minister Patty Haidu and Public Security Minister Bill Blair Joint statement By reviewing the relevant federal agency on the same day, you are “accepting all recommendations from this audit.”