SCIO briefing on efforts of the Central Guidance Team in Hubei to organize and guide epidemic control

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on Thursday afternoon in Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, to introduce the efforts being undertaken by the Central Guidance Team in Hubei to organize and guide the work related to epidemic prevention and control. February 21, 2020

China News Service:

With the upgrading of management and control, there is still some gaps in the implementation of some measures. For example, how can you strengthen the guarantee of supplies of basic living materials such as vegetables, rice and oil? Thank you.

Lian Weiliang:

Thank you for your question. The supply of living materials is guaranteed in general, particularly in terms of its total amount. However, as you mentioned, after stricter management and control measures were taken, we have had many difficulties in the distribution of living materials. Therefore, we need to take efficient measures to solve the problem under the premise of following the epidemic prevention and control arrangements. 

To efficiently stop the source of infection before it happens, the most important step is to reduce the flow of people. However, we have to rely on certain human resources and personnel flows to distribute living materials, so the key is to properly handle the relationship between the two. In the next step, we will focus on four aspects to guarantee the supply of living materials: increasing supplies, improving weak links, optimizing distribution, and finding solutions to individual cases. 

First, we must focus on increasing supply. Hubei is a major province for the production of grain, oil, meat, vegetables and fish. It can maintain adequate self-sufficiency and has satisfactory reserves of daily necessities. But even so, the country has arranged and prepared for the allocation of supplies from other localities. We have recently transferred 2000 tons of state-reserved meat to Wuhan, and also prepared 80,000 tons of rice, 80,000 metric tons of flour, 120,000 metric tons of edible oil, 36,000 metric tons of pork, 29,000 metric tons of vegetables, 2,900 metric tons of eggs, 12 million packages of instant noodles, 300 metric tons of ham sausage, 3,400 metric tons of chilled meat, and 1,000 metric tons of frozen food, ready to be transferred to Hubei whenever necessary.

Second, we must strengthen weak links. This includes efforts to address structural and regional supply shortages. For example, some regions had shortages of frozen meat and fresh vegetables, and people in some areas reported difficulties in purchasing milk powder. We have therefore taken effective measures in light of these circumstances and organized companies to increase supply in a timely manner.

Third, we must focus on improving delivery. We have worked on implementing three policies: "green channels" for transporting fresh agricultural products; "no stopping, no inspection and no charges" for vehicles transporting daily necessities; and targeted support for logistics companies. In addition, while strictly implementing epidemic prevention and control measures, we have organized logistics workers to resume work in an orderly manner to effectively address insufficiency in delivery services.

Fourth, we are addressing individual cases. The central guidance group for material support closely monitors the material supply and price fluctuations in the markets of Wuhan, Hubei province, and other localities every day. It pays attention to individual cases, reported by citizens, of supply shortages and price volatility, and works to verify and address them upon identifying.

The supply of daily necessities when fighting against the epidemic is certainly not as convenient as usual, which I believe people can also understand. Party committees and governments at all levels will continuously improve measures to ensure steady supply and prices.

Thank you.

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