Press conference on epidemic control in post-Spring Festival travel rush

A press conference was held Saturday afternoon to introduce various measures related to COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control during the post-Spring Festival travel rush. February 18, 2020

Hu Kaihong:   

Because the time is limited, this will be the last question.

Economic Daily:   

I have two questions for Mr. Li. First, some reports claimed there is a shortfall in the supply of epidemic prevention materials. Transporting emergency supplies and medical staff to the frontline has been of great concern, especially for some important regions like Hubei. We know that the civil aviation department has been working on this. Would you please brief us on your latest work? Second, what is the focal point for you in regard to emergency support in the next phase? Thank you.

Li Jian:   

First, thanks for your questions. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has been implementing the important instructions made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council since the epidemic outbreak was first confirmed. The CAAC organized 21 domestic airline companies to undertake 241 flights related to emergency transport work from Jan. 24 to Feb. 14, transporting 29,364 people. Among them, 181 flights were specifically related to medical transport work, 9 were charter flights to take home 1,185 Hubei residents stranded overseas, and 48 were overseas charter flights involving the delivery of emergency supplies.

Subsidiaries of the CAAC have been responding quickly and working together to overcome the difficulties although time is tight and the tasks are challenging. Here I would like to share some stories with you. It took us just one hour to complete Premier Li Keqiang's assigned task of transporting 20,000 goggles for medical staff. Within just two days, we arranged 50 charter flights to transport 6,288 medical workers to Wuhan. We also ferried 54 metric tons of medical supplies to the epidemic frontline areas from overseas, even as far as from Durban, South Africa.

Next, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) will encourage more airlines to offer transportation support for the prevention and control of the epidemic. We will mobilize more resources to ensure the smooth operation of air traffic so that supplies and personnel can be shipped to Hubei from across the country. We will demand all airlines to pay the closest attention to the health condition and safety precautions related to their frontline staff. 

We have also enlisted general aviation services to help in the work for the prevention and control of the epidemic, because general aviation is an important force in emergency rescue and disaster relief offering quick response and convenience. At present, the prevention and control of the epidemic has entered a critical stage that requires stringent efforts, and there is an urgent need for frequent, point-to-point transportation of emergency medical personnel and supplies in small batches, plus the heavy task of disinfection. Recently, we made emergency arrangements to mobilize general aviation service providers in the country to take social responsibility and participate in the overall task of prevention and control of the epidemic. We also opened "green passage" for general aviation service providers to take part in the battle against the epidemic by adopting various measures, including speeding up flight plan approvals, enhancing airport ground support, optimizing settlement modes for refueling, and seeking preferential policies regarding fuel oil-related charges. All forces were mobilized to ensure the general aviation industry can play a bigger role and offer important support for the civil aviation sector to win the battle against the epidemic. 

According to statistics, as of Feb. 14, a total of 123 general aviation enterprises in the country deployed 608 aircraft to deliver medicines among other goods and materials and spray disinfectants. This involved a total of 4,898 flights covering 1,308 hours. 27 general aviation enterprises in Hubei province dispatched 53 aircraft and delivered a total of 53 tons of medicines and other goods and materials during 213 flights totaling 201 hours, playing an important active role in the prevention and control of the epidemic. 

Thank you.

Hu Kaihong:   

Today's conference is concluded. Thanks to the four speakers. Thank you all.

Translated and edited by Zhang Liying, Wang Yiming, Zhu Bochen, Zhang Rui, Wu Jin, Gong Yingchun, Li Huiru, Xiang Bin, Liu Sitong, Wang Qian, Guo Xiaohong, He Shan, Yang Xi, Zhou Jing, Li Xiao, Wang Wei, Yuan Fang, Jay Birbeck, David Ball. In case of any dispute over a discrepancy, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

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