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. Ou. The floor is now open for questions. Please identify your news outlet before asking questions.


Some media outlets have reported that certain medical workers fainted due to overwork and exhaustion, and some of them even slept directly on the hospital floor after shifts. I would like to ask whether this situation has been improved? Thank you.  

Zeng Yixin:

The medical staff members working on the front line are indeed overstretched. They have to overcome difficult working conditions, and have been suffering from lack of sleep. Moreover, they are under huge mental stress and facing high risk of infection. According to the latest measures aiming to improve working conditions for frontline medical workers,and ensure their mental and physical health, one of the priorities is to allocate medical workers based on the practical situation involving epidemic prevention and control. The method should be reasonable enough to provide sufficient medical services, and ensure medical workers get adequate rest. Given the large number of patients in Hubei province, especially the challenges of the severely ill patients, we have given special requirements for the length of working shifts to ensure that the medical workers will have adequate rest. In addition, we will ensure that these medical workers can get more holidays after finishing their mission. We hope the current situation can be improved as soon as possible. Thank you.

China Daily:

What measures have the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security taken to ensure safety of frontline medical workers during the outbreak? Thank you.

Ou Wenhan:

Thanks for your question. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, medical workers have responded to their call of duty, risk their lives to confront it head on, and fought bravely on the frontline of the fight against this epidemic. They have made great contributions to protect people's life and health. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have urged more care for medical workers on the frontline. In order to protect their rights and interests, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security have issued a number of measures.

First, we have stepped up efforts to improve working and living conditions for medical workers. As of Feb. 13, the Chinese authorities had allocated 25.94 billion yuan to purchase medical facilities, protective wear, and upgrade facilities in medical institutions.

Second, we offer special subsidies for medical workers. Medical personnel and other workers on the frontline of epidemic prevention and control will receive daily subsidies of 300 yuan or 200 yuan each according to different risk levels. All the subsidies will be fully covered by the central budget. In order to ensure the implementation of this policy, the government has allocated part of the funds to local budget, and next, the funds will be settled by local governments.

Third, we'll try our best to guarantee the additional welfare distributed to our medical personnel and those involved in the prevention work. The medical and healthcare institutes, deeply involved with prevention and treatment tasks despite the high risks being faced, will be subsidized with additional one-time performance remunerations paid on an irregular basis. The medical staff contaminated in the epidemic will be reimbursed with work-related injury insurances requiring to be confirmed in a "green channel", so the legitimate rights of the health workers can actually be fully protected. We should also laud and award those who have made outstanding contributions, either through individual efforts or through the spirit of close teamwork, in a timely manner. Meanwhile, we will increase the healthcare subsidies allocated to the personnel involved in epidemic prevention and treatment.

Fourth, all the medical personnel involved in the prevention and control of the epidemic will receive provisional work allowances and bonuses exempt from individual income tax.

I have learned that there are local policies rolled out regarding actual situations to support the medical staff working on the frontline. Next, we'll make an even tighter schedule to cooperate with other authorities to implement the policies, so that a stronger joint force can be formed to prevent and control the disease. Thank you.

Zhang Yiquan:

The questioner raises a very important issue. A substantial number of medical staff form a major force to fight against the sudden outbreak of this epidemic. At this particular moment, it is of paramount importance to ensure the remunerations of those health workers working in the forefront of the ongoing fight is properly distributed, and this is a very important task for us. The measures introduced by Ou Wenhan from the Ministry of Finance have been rolled out through the joint efforts between the two ministries. Those measures were taken to address the problems facing medical personnel at the forefront of bringing an end to the virus spread. In line with the work deployment made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, we have implemented targeted measures to take care of our medical personnel. The provisional subsidies already mentioned are actually a measure undertaken from 2016 by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the Ministry of Finance, targeting people involved in preventing and controlling infectious diseases. At this moment in particular, the Ministry of Finance will ensure the allowances are distributed on time.

Second, we plan to issue extra performance remunerations. To increase the salaries of the medical staff in the frontline, we have issued one-time performance incomes on an irregular basis to encourage them and show our full support. We have particularly opened a "green channel" to confirm the work-related issues incurred by those working in the frontline. The measures have been taken rapidly among various localities to secure the legitimate rights of the medical staff. We have also adopted special policies to increase the size of personnel working for the medical institutes on the frontline. To address the shortage of medical staff in this area, we have streamlined the recruiting procedures by employing people through online interviews and probations and those who prove themselves appropriately qualified will be immediately hired. About 10 cities and prefectures in four provincial-level regions have enlarged their medical teams in line with this measure.

Next, we'll join hands with the Ministry of Finance to make full implementation of the policies carried out to safeguard the rights and treatments of our medical staff. Thank you.

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