Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning. Welcome to the press conference of the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council. Today's conference will focus on strengthening science-based epidemic prevention and control of the COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus pneumonia) and orderly resumption of work and production.
The speakers present at the conference are Mr. Cong Liang, member of the Leading Party Members' Group and secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC); Mr. Ou Xiaoli, director of the Department of Social Development, NDRC; Ms. Zhang Ying, director of the Department of Employment Promotion, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security; Mr. Xu Yahua, director of the Department of Transport Services, the Ministry of Transport; and Mr. He Qinghua, person in charge of the Bureau of Disease Prevention and Control, the National Health Commission.
First, I will give the floor to Mr. Cong.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning. The theme of this press conference is strengthening the science-based epidemic prevention and control of the novel coronavirus and orderly resumption of work and production. Regarding the resumption of work and production, our frontline health workers have been tireless and unceasing in their fight against the outbreak; a great number of enterprises manufacturing medical supplies have resumed production early; and the reporters covering the epidemic have never taken a day off. Here, I would like to express my deepest respect to you all.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council have attached great importance to the prevention and control work, putting people's safety and health as the top priority. General Secretary Xi Jinping leads and deploys the prevention and control work in person. He presided over two meetings of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and gave important directions and instructions on many occasions. General Secretary Xi also made important instructions on strengthening the science-based prevention and control work and ensuring stable and orderly production and lives. He ordered the hard-hit regions to focus their efforts on epidemic prevention and control, and other regions to balance epidemic prevention and control with the work surrounding reform, development and stability to fully support and organize various enterprises in the resumption of production.
Premier Li Keqiang held multiple meetings of the Leading Group of the CPC Central Committee on the Prevention and Control of the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak and chaired the executive meetings of the State Council, making arrangements for the provision of key medical supplies and daily necessities for epidemic prevention and control. He ordered all the regions except for Hubei province to make orderly arrangements for the resumption of production while continuing the science-based anti-epidemic efforts so as to better support the epidemic containment work and ensure normal economic and social order.
The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council has also held many meetings on the work surrounding the COVID-19 situation.
At present, the resumption of production in all provincial-level regions except for Hubei is underway. Enterprises in priority sectors such as key medical supplies, energy, grain, transport and logistics have gradually resumed operations. According to the latest statistics from 22 provincial-level regions on Feb. 10, 76% of the face mask manufacturers have returned to work, and the figure is 77% for protective suits producers. About 94.6% of the country's major grain production and processing firms have also resumed production, as have 57.8% of the coal mines. Meanwhile, the supply of natural gas, electricity and refined oil remains sufficient. Civil aviation, railway and waterway networks are operating as normal. However, we have also learned that some problems still hamper the resumption of production, such as insufficient labor, local production restrictions, a severe shortage of protective gear such as masks, a disconnection between the upstream and downstream of industry chains, transport and logistics impediments, as well as financial stress.
To implement the important instructions made by General Secretary Xi Jinping on the epidemic prevention and control work, and the decisions of the Leading Group of the CPC Central Committee on the Prevention and Control of the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak, the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council issued a notice on strengthening the science-based epidemic prevention and control and ensuring the orderly resumption of work and production on Feb. 8. The NDRC, together with other departments, will implement targeted measures based on the conditions in different regions to balance epidemic prevention and control work with the resumption of work and production. While enhancing the science-based prevention and control work, we will promptly help solve the problems enterprises face during their resumption of production so that they can restart normal operations at an early date.
First, we will ensure that employees return to work over time in staggered batches. Business sectors that are crucial to the national economy and people's livelihood should resume work and production immediately. Workers engaged in major projects should return to their jobs on time and start work as soon as possible. Other companies that do not fulfill these criteria can temporarily suspend their re-opening. Employees in the hardest-hit areas and who are holding non-critical positions can postpone their return trips to their cities of work.
Second, we will make every effort to ensure the safe transportation of people back to their places of work. Real-time monitoring and analysis of population flows are being conducted. Necessary measures such as ventilation, disinfection, checking of body temperature, and the vacating of certain seats to maintain a distance among passengers on trains and planes, are being adopted to reduce the risk of the transmission of the virus. For provinces and areas with a large population of migrant workers, we will strengthen our transportation systems and organizations to ensure that workers can gradually return to their places of work.
Third, we will work to speed up patient screening and diagnosis by developing diagnostic methods such as nucleic acid testing. We will also make good use of scientific and technological methods such as nucleic acid testing to scientifically determine the optimal period for medical observation and self-quarantine at home so as to ensure the public's safety.
Fourth, we will strengthen the quarantine and treatment of target populations. Employees who return to work should report their travel information and health conditions in a timely manner, and enterprises as well as local communities should set up individual health files for them. Those who show possible symptoms of the COVID-19 should be quarantined locally and sent to the hospital for screening. Once diagnosed, they should be treated immediately.
Fifth, we will guide enterprises to effectively implement various COVID-19 prevention requirements. Population density in the workplace should be reduced in various ways, including staggering commuting hours, adopting flexible working hours and adjusting paid time off. Companies should also establish and improve their systems for daily cleaning, disinfection, ventilation, and temperature monitoring. They should make sure that cafeteria food is safe and that employees either stagger their meal times, sit apart from each other or order delivery meals.
Sixth, we will work to accelerate the coordinated operation of the entire industry chain. The liaison system should be established for key enterprises to coordinate and solve problems such as the lack of labor, raw materials, and funds in a timely manner. A guarantee plan for the steady supply of coal, electricity, oil and gas should be formulated to prevent regional or periodic shortages or a sharp increase in price. Materials used in epidemic prevention work, key raw and auxiliary materials, important equipment and parts for production, food and other daily necessities are also eligible for emergency transportation, and vehicles that transport the above-mentioned goods will not be inspected, stopped, or be made to pay tolls.
Seventh, we will comprehensively maintain workplace safety and social stability. We will make sure that enterprises take on the responsibility of ensuring a safe production environment and strictly implement measures to strengthen the monitoring of potential workplace hazards related to flammable, explosive, toxic and harmful products. For key enterprises involved in the production, warehousing, logistics, transportation or distribution of epidemic prevention materials, we will ensure that they are able to adequately detect and avoid major workplace hazards.
Eighth, we will strive to improve our support for the public. Enterprises should be equipped with supplies such as disinfectants, infrared thermometers, etc., and distribute protective equipment such as face masks for employees. Salaries, remuneration and work-related allowances shall be paid on time in accordance with relevant policies thereby ensuring that employees' legitimate rights and interests are protected. Cities may also temporarily lift traffic policies which restrict certain private vehicles from using public roads based on the last digit of their license plate numbers. In fact, Beijing has already suspended this restriction policy days ago, and private cars can travel on the roads from Monday to Friday.
Ninth, we will make sure enterprises and local governments fulfill their responsibilities. Working mechanisms should be jointly established and improved to prevent and control the COVID-19. The resumption of production should be considered an important task at the moment. Formalistic and bureaucratic behavior such as “filling forms to fight the epidemic” should be eliminated. In these ways, we will ensure that the resumption of operations and production will take place in a safe and orderly manner.
My brief will conclude here. Next, we'll open the floor to your questions. Thank you.
Thank you for your introduction, Mr. Cong Liang. Let's give floor to the media. Please inform us which news organization you are from before asking questions.