SCIO briefing on progress of Central Guidance Team in Hubei to organize and guide epidemic control and medical rescue

The State Council Information Office held a press conference Friday afternoon in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province, to introduce the progress being made by the Central Guidance Team in organizing and guiding works related to epidemic control and medical rescue in the fight against COVID-19. February 29, 2020

Xi Yanchun:

The last question.

The Economic Daily/China Economic Net:

The central government has put forward measures covering 10 aspects in a recently issued notice on how to further protect and take care of medical staff. My question is, what measures has the National Health Commission taken in caring the medical staff in the frontline against the epidemic? Thank you.

Ma Xiaowei:

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, under the arrangements made by the central government, medical workers have bid farewell to their families and rushed to the front line to deal with the epidemic without hesitation and save lives. A total of more than 40,000 medical workers have been dispatched to join the local medical staff in Wuhan city and Hubei province and have been racing against time to combat the disease, leaving countless touching tales and creating miracles of life. More than 2,000 medical staff have been diagnosed with a COVID-19 infection. A number of doctors and nurses have died on duty. They have offered all their professional skills, shed their sweat, and even devoted their lives here, composing an impressive song of fighting against the epidemic. Here, I would like to express my deep condolences to the deceased compatriots and medical workers.

The severe fight against the epidemic has become a focused test of the spirit, professional integrity and willpower of medical staff in the new era, as well as a test of medical discipline development, technical progress, and improvement of emergency response capacity and organizational management achieved over the years. The medical and health staff have given a satisfactory answer to the call of the Party and the people. Their actions have elaborated and enriched the noble spirit of respecting life, healing the sick and rescuing those near death, and showing dedication and boundless love for patients. With the long-term devotion to their duties, they always polish their professional skills to relieve the pain of patients, and will always choose to fight on the frontline in spite of dangers whenever there is a major disaster or epidemic. In such a life-or-death situation their personality and glory shine through as they fulfill their missions. Practice has proved time and time again that they are trustworthy representatives of the Party and the people and an army of heroes with political firmness, technical excellence and noble medical integrity.

They are the guardians of people's health. These admirable people are loved by the whole society. A few days ago, General Secretary Xi Jinping issued an important instruction, emphasizing that medical workers are the backbone force in defeating the epidemic. He stressed providing comprehensive support for them to ensure their strength, morale and energy. The Central Leading Group on Responding to the Novel Coronavirus Disease Outbreak issued a Notice on Comprehensive Implementation of Measures to Better Protect Medical Workers. The content is of a complete concrete nature. The NHC issued guidelines on the implementation of the Notice, and is working together with relevant departments and local Party committees and governments to speed up implementation. We must do this work well and pass on the care and warmth of the Party Central Committee to every medical worker on the frontline. With regard to the implementation of specific measures, I would like to invite Ms. Jiao to give an explanation.

Jiao Yahui:

Thank you for your question. The NHC attaches great importance to the protection and care for medical workers, and has issued measures aiming to improve working conditions for those on the frontline, and ensure their mental and physical health. After the Central Leading Group on Responding to the Novel Coronavirus Disease Outbreak issued the Notice, the NHC acted quickly, issued regulations jointly with relevant departments, and took a series of measures, including the following aspects:

Firstly, in terms of salary, we have introduced policies together with relevant departments. For frontline medical worker in Hubei province, including medical personnel in the medical team, we have doubled the standard of temporary work subsidies, tripled the salary level, and expanded the distribution scope of health and epidemic prevention subsidies so as to ensure that all frontline medical personnel are covered. On February 25, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the Ministry of Finance also issued relevant documents to adjust the standard of health and epidemic prevention allowance. In terms of safety in practice, relevant policies have been issued to crack down on any illegal and criminal behavior involving medicines to be used during the epidemic prevention and control period, so as to provide a safe environment for medical workers. In addition, we have worked with various departments to mobilize relevant protective equipment provided from all over the country, and carried out nosocomial infection prevention and control training for medical workers. We have also strengthened protection for medical workers to reduce the incidence of infection among them. For the infected medical staff, we are taking active measures to provide full medical treatment.

We have actively raised funds to provide medical workers with daily necessities, including sanitation and hygiene items. The relevant financing, procurement and distribution are in the process of implementing. In order to ensure medical workers can have sufficient energy for the vital work in quarantine areas, we arranged nearby accommodation in hotels with help from the Wuhan authorities. We also scheduled special vehicles to carry them to and from work.

In addition, we have also taken measures to ensure the medical workers work in shifts so that they can have adequate rest. We have also dispatched 300 psychiatrists from around the nation to provide psychological counseling to frontline medical workers. At the local level, many effective measures and methods have been adopted in the identification of work-related injuries, the evaluation of professional titles and the assistance of medical staff facing family difficulties. The NHC also required our working groups in different provinces to strengthen their supervision and guidance, so as to ensure that these policies and measures concerning caring for medical workers are effective. Thank you.

Ma Xiaowei:

Here I would like to share a piece of news with you. Recently, with the approval of the Party Central Committee, the National Health Commission of China decided to recognize and reward a batch of model groups and individuals working on the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak in the national health system. The reward system will favor grassroots, frontline workers and high-risk positions. The commendation has an "on-spot" feature, that is, the commendation won't be granted after the epidemic. In the future, we will continue to carry out the commendation work, so as to ensure medical workers' strength, morale and energy in the fight against the epidemic. Thank you.

Xi Yanchun:

Ok, thank you again. That concludes today's press conference.

Translated and edited by Zhu Bochen, Lin Liyao, Wang Zhiyong, Wang Wei, Li Xiao, Wu Jin, Zhang Lulu, Zhang Junmian, Wang Yiming, Gong Yingchun, Mi Xingang, Zhou Jing, Yan Xiaoqing, Duan Yaying, Li Huiru, Zhang Rui, Huang Shan, Yang Xi, He Shan, Wang Qian, Guo Xiaohong, Yuan Fang, Fan Junmei, Geoffrey Murry. In case of any dispute over a discrepancy, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

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