SCIO briefing on the joint response to the new coronavirus-related pneumonia outbreak

A press conference was held Sunday afternoon to explain the work being carried out to jointly prevent and control the new coronavirus-related pneumonia outbreak. January 27, 2020

People's Daily:

During the Spring Festival travel rush, what measures have been taken by the transportation departments to avoid the spread of the virus? The traffic is expected to peak when the festival holiday ends and people return to workplace. What measures will be taken to deal with the situation? Thank you.

Liu Xiaoming:

At present, dealing with the high traffic load during the Spring Festival travel season and curbing the spread of the virus are two important tasks facing the transportation departments. I have briefed on some of the work we've done so far, and now I will provide more information. Currently, 30 out of 31 provincial regions have launched a first-level emergency response – the highest level for a public health emergency. The only one which activated a level II public health emergency response is Tibet autonomous region where there are no cases so far. In response to the problem reported in the early stage that some of Wuhan's medical people and patients could not be guaranteed efficient transportation, we communicated with Wuhan Transportation Department and instructed them to establish an emergency taxi fleet. A total of 310 buses and 4,700 taxis have been requisitioned to meet travel needs. According to the latest statistics by 7 a.m. this morning, the national transportation system has assigned 263,500 people in prevention and control work, and established 6,672 quarantine stations in expressway rest areas and waterways and highway stations. In order to ensure the transportation of goods, 4,196 non-obstructive passages were set up along the expressways. A total of 54,700 vehicles for emergency transportation are on hand, including refrigerated trucks and freight transport vehicles, to ensure the emergency transportation.

Your question shows the media's concern about the prevention of virus amid Spring Festival travel. Because public transport may play a role in the spread of coronavirus, we have taken some emergency measures, and now we see that the passenger volume of this year has decreased. According to our statistics, the total volume dropped by 28.8% on the first day of the Lunar New Year compared with the same period last year. Normally speaking, compared with last year's first day figure, this year's should have been slightly larger, but this is not the case: this year, passenger volume of railways have decreased by 41.5%, road transport 25%, and civil aviation 41.6%. Even though the number of people on the move is reduced, as Mr. Ma has just mentioned, the virus will continue to impact on people for some time. In the next step, to ensure the entire economic and social development, people must continue to work. Rural migrant workers will go in the cities, employees will return to the workplace, and those who visited families in their hometowns will return as well. In this process, the transportation departments must do well in both ensuring transportation and curbing the spread of the virus.

Firstly, we will further strengthen ventilation and disinfection of vehicles, and make sure the observing rooms are well used and the work of monitoring passengers' body temperature is efficiently carried out.

Secondly, we will work even harder to help curb the spread of virus. For example, as I said, the resumption of long-distance coaches of Beijing is delayed. Because the space on coach is small, so we decided to put off the resumption of services. For those vehicles which have larger space, we will increase the transport capacity. According to the current situation, the passenger volume is on the decrease, so the space between people will be even wider.

Thirdly, we hope that passengers can raise consciousness of self-protection and cooperate with the transportation departments, such as having their temperature taken. Together with the National Health Commission and relevant local departments, we have established a system of information registration of the passengers. All passengers who take the plane, train, or long-distance coach must register their information on the card to protect themselves and others.

Fourthly, we will further strengthen protection of drivers, attendants and conductors. For one thing, they can help ensure the efficient transportation, for another, the passengers will be protected as well. What's more, I would like comment on another measure. In some places, in order to protect certain communities or areas, some isolation facilities have been set up. We understand this. Mr. Li Bin also said that it is very important for the communities, especially in rural areas, to strengthen their own protection. It is a responsibility of everyone to ensure the safety of the community. I think this is a good measure. However, from the perspective of transportation, I think we should work in accordance with the principle of "one block and three continuations": "one block" is to firmly block the channel of virus transmission; "three continuations" refers to that the road transportation should continue to operate to ensure that society can function normally; the non-obstructive transport passages for emergency goods should continue to operate; the channels for transporting necessities of production and living should continue to remain open. Mr. Jiang said that we must resume production, so the raw materials must be available and the products must be delivered as soon as possible. In this regard, I think that we need to stick to the above-mentioned principle. Thank you.

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