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

Xinhua Daily:

Among the plans mentioned earlier by the NHC, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and the Ministry of Finance, one is to provide front-line medical staff with sufficient prevention supplies. My question is: what measures have been taken by the Ministry of Finance to support for and ensure the provision of key medical supplies. Thank you.

Ou Wenhan:

Thank you for your question. To ensure sufficient prevention supplies is essential to win the battle against the COVID-19. According to the decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the finance department of all levels are unsparing in their efforts to support the procurement of prevention supplies and equipment. In the meantime, we have also introduced a series of supportive measures regarding tax concessions, procurement and storage, and loan discounts. 

Four measures have been taken in terms of tax concessions. First, tax concessions will be given to producers of key prevention supplies. Manufacturing equipment newly-purchased to expand production capacity are treated as a one-time cost to be deducted when paying corporate income tax, so as to encourage a further expanded production capacity of key companies. Second, the value-added tax of the income of companies that ship these key supplies will be waived to ensure timely delivery. Third, there will be no registration fees for relevant medicines and medical devices, meanwhile more support will be given to the R&D of medicines and vaccines. Fourth, preferential tax policies will be applied to donations from society, including those directly to hospitals. The limit of pre-tax deduction proportion will be removed, and the income tax of donations from individuals and companies will be waived. The value-added tax and consumption tax of donated goods will also be waived, and the import tax of imported donations from other countries will be exempted. 

In terms of procurement, for the production of major medical supplies, such as the N95 face masks and protective suits, enterprises are encouraged to put aside overcapacity concerns and work at maximum strength. Chinese authorities have pledged that the government would be the ultimate buyer if the market could not consume all the products meeting standards. And we will also simplify the process to improve efficiency in procuring supplies. For medical products, projects and services covered by financial outlays, we will simplify the whole purchasing process. Meanwhile, imported products with regard to epidemic control and prevention do not need to go through the approval system.

For the loan interest, we will increase the subsidies for special loans made to the key companies involved in virus fight. We will give 50% of the interest subsidies based on the interest rate of the loans, and ensure their financing cost is below 1.6%, in a bid to drive their production capacity forward and ensure the supply. 

The next step we will focus on giving more support to ensure the supplies for epidemic control and prevention, and work to win the fight against the outbreak. Thank you.


Two questions. First, can you tell us whether the rest of the country will adopt Hubei's new category of clinical diagnosis in reporting new cases? And if not, will that lead to under-reporting of cases outside Hubei? Secondly, we saw that Hubei province had a sudden surge in the number of confirmed cases and severe cases. Should we expect more adjustments to overall severe case or confirmed case statistics going forward? Thank you. 

Zeng Yixin:

Thanks for your questions. In Hubei province, clinical diagnosis hasn't been used for confirming cases. Besides the confirmed cases, we add the item of a clinically-diagnosed case. The newly-added item is not for confirming new cases but to find the patient at an earlier stage so that they can receive the treatment earlier and ensure early recovery. This will not cause chaos in allocating medical supplies and resources across the country. Right now, we haven't ruled out use of clinical diagnoses in reporting cases in other provinces of China.

About your second question, because we set up this new item of clinical diagnosis, the number in this category has indeed increased, which reflect current reality in Wuhan. It's helpful for us to do a better job in early identification, early diagnosis, early treatment and early quarantine. This group of patients can receive the treatment at an early stage and make a quicker recovery and help lower the mortality rate. Thank you.

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