Press conference on epidemic prevention and control updates, protection and caring for medical staff

A press conference was held Friday afternoon to introduce the latest situation on the prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak, especially measures to improve protection and caring for medical staff. February 15, 2020

Hu Kaihong:

Thank you, Mr. Zeng Yixin. Next, let's give the floor to Mr. Zhang Yiquan, vice minister of human resources and social security.

Zhang Yiquan:

Good afternoon, media friends. Since the epidemic outbreak, a vast number of medical workers have responded to the party's call and have fought the epidemic on the front line. A lot of touching stories about them have since emerged. I would like to take this opportunity to pay high tribute to all of them.

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council are very concerned about the medical staff working on the front line. General Secretary Xi Jinping has made a series of important instructions that he emphasized while inspecting the coronavirus prevention and control work in Beijing. These instructions emphasize the requirement to care for medical staff and help solve their practical difficulties and problems. Premier Li Keqiang has also made clear requirements for improving medical staff's working conditions and physical and mental health.

The human resources and social security departments have resolutely put into practice the important instructions from General Secretary Xi Jinping and the deployment of the CPC Central Committee, issued a series of related policies to support front-line epidemic prevention and control in a timely manner. In particular, in conjunction with relevant departments, a series of special measures for front-line medical staff have been taken, such as protection and caring, improved treatments, commendation and rewards, and urgently adding staff to the related departments. For example, Mr. Zeng just now mentioned measures such as the provision of temporary work allowances, increasing the amount of one-time performance-based pay for medical workers and other personnel fighting at the front lines, and opening fast-track channels for medical staff for the identification of work-related injuries.

In the next step, we will guide local human and social departments to effectively implement these policies, maximize the effectiveness of the policies and better protect and take better care of medical staff. This will provide strong a guarantee of winning the fight against the epidemic. Thank you.

Hu Kaihong:

Thank you, Mr. Zhang. Now, let's give the floor to Mr. Ou.

Ou Wenhan:

Friends from the media, good afternoon. First of all, on behalf of the Ministry of Finance, I would like to thank you for your attention to and support for our work. Since the epidemic outbreak, the Ministry of Finance has resolutely implemented the important instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping, earnestly implemented the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and gone all-out in supporting the work of epidemic prevention and control. We have increased funding support. Governments at all levels had already allocated 80.55 billion yuan for the epidemic prevention and control program by Feb. 13, with actual expenditure so far of 41 billion yuan. We also issued a circular urging financial departments at all levels to give top priority to people's safety and health, earnestly implement the various policies, provide sufficient funding so as to dispel people's worries about the cost of seeing a doctor and to ensure that medical treatment and epidemic prevention and control in various localities would not be affected by any funding shortage. Funds for the epidemic prevention and control in various localities certainly are well-guaranteed.

We also released a set of fiscal and taxation policies in a timely manner, supported the supply of key epidemic prevention and control resources, offered more incentives to medical staff, provided preferential taxation policies to companies and individuals affected by the epidemic, and helped to restore order in production and life at a faster pace. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council care greatly for the welfare of medical staff on the frontline in the fight against the epidemic. Giving priority to medical personnel, the Ministry of Finance is offering funding and policy support by releasing a series of timely policies together with other government departments, to further improve the working conditions of frontline medical personnel, safeguard their physical and mental health, and protect their legitimate rights and interests.

We are at a critical stage of the epidemic prevention and control work at present. Financial departments at all levels will continue offering funding, policy and resource support in light of development of the epidemic and the requirements for its prevention and control, and try to make more detailed work arrangements, release more considerate policies, and allocate the funds in a more science-based way.

First, the ministry will effectively perform its functions, and adjust and improve our efforts to offer better support. We will prioritize the needs for epidemic prevention and control, strengthen mobilization and management of treasury funds, efficiently satisfy urgent and special needs, offer timely and sufficient funding so as meet needs at community level.

Second, we will earnestly implement the fiscal and tax policies that have been released, keep a close eye on offering sufficient funds and implementing the policies, strengthen supervision and highlight discipline, and identify and resolve problems in implementation, so as to ensure that government funds are used as efficiently as possible.

Third, we will conduct an in-depth analysis of the impacts of the epidemic on economic performance and government revenue and expenditure, build up a policy reserve in order to respond well to the impact, and help restore order in production and life by utilizing a suitable fiscal, taxation and financial policy toolkit.

We believe that under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, and in accordance with the general requirements of firm confidence, solidarity, scientific prevention and control, and precise measures, we will overcome the difficulties together, win the fight against the epidemic, and achieve the goals of economic and social development for the year.

Thank you.

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