SCIO press conference on making every effort to ensure sound transportation services during 2023 Spring Festival

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Xing Huina:

Due to time constraints, we will have one last question.

Nanfang Metropolis Daily:

As the huge human migration involving 2 billion trips approaches, how will China respond to the challenges after having optimized the epidemic control management during the Spring Festival travel rush? What specific measures will be taken? Thank you.

Cai Tuanjie:

Thank you to the reporter. The epidemic prevention and control work plays a crucial role in ensuring transportation services during this year's Spring Festival. During the Spring Festival travel rush, the high flow of people and goods and extensive social activities increases the risk of infection. Based on these conditions and combined with the implementation of the measures adopted by China to treat COVID-19 as a Category B disease, the Spring Festival Transportation Special Group has issued the Guidelines on Epidemic Prevention and Control During the Spring Festival Travel Rush and Guidelines on Travel Services During the Spring Festival Travel Rush. We will guide regions to strengthen whole-chain management according to relevant requirements and documents, urge employees in the transportation industry to carry out effective and detailed implementation of epidemic control measures and guide the public to take personal protection measures, contributing to the effective and steady transition of the epidemic development and ensuring the smooth and orderly operation of transportation services during the Spring Festival. 

First, the organization and guidance of passenger flow will be enhanced. We will urge operators to strengthen disinfection and ventilation of airports and transportation hubs. Passenger flow will be organized in a better way. Passengers will be guided to form lines in key places including entrances, ticket windows, automatic ticket machines, security check lanes, and check-in gates. If conditions allow, passengers will be guided to maintain their distance in waiting rooms and sit apart from each other. Transport capacity will be increased in a timely manner for lines with large passenger flow to reduce gatherings.

Second, education programs will be conducted to raise public awareness of epidemic prevention when traveling. Everyone should be responsible for their own health. Here we would like to recommend that the public reduce travel to regions with high infection rates and people from these regions should also reduce travel and avoid traveling when they have symptoms. People should try not to take public transportation if they have not ruled out the risk of having been infected or when displaying symptoms such as fever. During their journey, passengers should increase their awareness of self-protection and strengthen personal protection throughout the entire trip. When taking public transportation, passengers should wear face masks during the entirety of their trip and try to reduce gathering.

Third, the adoption of contactless services will be encouraged. We will guide passenger transport operators to keep improving ticket services and take active steps to promote the application of services including online purchasing of tickets, e-tickets, and self-service check-in. The range of paperless and contactless services will be expanded. The smooth transition between railway, civil aviation and urban rail transit will be further advanced and the security check process will be optimized, so as to reduce the waiting time for transfers and public gathering and improve passengers' efficiency in transfer.

Fourth, the health management of transportation employees will be strengthened. We will urge operators to strengthen the health monitoring of transportation employees and carry out management of those with symptoms. Those who have symptoms such as fever should promptly report their situation, stop working and take a COVID-19 antigen test or nucleic acid test if necessary. Transportation employees are asked to strengthen self-protection. They should wear face masks during their work and practice good hand hygiene. Meanwhile, for service staff working in transportation hubs and highway service areas with large passenger flow and those working on the frontline in places such as toll booths, we advocate that they commute directly between their home and workplace. They should also wear N95 or KN95 face masks during their work. 

Fifth, epidemic prevention and control measures will be strictly implemented in airports and transportation hubs. We will urge operators to strengthen the daily public hygiene management in relevant airports and transportation hubs, highway service areas, toll booths, and some transportation vehicles. All of these public facilities will go through thorough cleaning and disinfection and ensure good ventilation. In areas where the epidemic situation is serious, the frequency of cleaning, disinfection and ventilation will be increased, and the windows of passenger vehicles will be opened regularly for ventilation. 

Sixth, effective measures will be taken to respond to large-scale infections of transportation employees. We will urge operators to strengthen the management of transportation employees in terms of epidemic control. Drivers will undergo strict and prudential examinations before going to work to ensure that their physical conditions meet the standards for safe driving. Mechanisms for staff rotation and backups in key positions and for cross-regional mobilization of personnel and transport capacity will be established and implemented. We will make preparations in case of the need to respond to large-scale infections of transportation employees, so as to ensure that the replacement of personnel is carried out in an orderly manner and that transportation services are not disrupted. 

We would also like to appeal to all regions to provide care for transportation employees. Highway service areas and service centers for drivers should if possible set up medical service stations, prepare necessary materials for epidemic treatment such as anti-fever drugs and provide necessary places for drivers to rest, so as to ensure that transportation employees can receive timely medical treatment and get the necessary rest when they have symptoms.

Next, we will pay close attention to developments in the epidemic nationwide, make timely adjustments to the relevant policies and supporting measures as circumstances change, and guide regions to take well-coordinated steps to prevent and control the epidemic and provide services for the Spring Festival travel rush. Thank you.

Xing Huina:

Today's briefing is hereby concluded. Any news organization that did not get a chance to raise questions today may contact us after the briefing. Thank you to all the speakers and friends from the media. Goodbye.

Translated and edited by Wang Yiming, Zhang Rui, Xu Xiaoxuan, Li Huiru, Yan Bin, Wang Wei, Yang Xi, Liu Qiang, Cui Can, Zhang Junmian, Duan Yaying, Huang Shan, Xiang Bin, Liu Sitong, Ma Yujia, Xu Kailin, Wang Qian, Zhu Bochen, Zhang Jiaqi, David Ball, Tom Arnsten, and Jay Birbeck. In case of any discrepancy between the English and Chinese texts, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

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