SCIO briefing on the work of civil affairs departments on COVID-19 control and livelihood security

The State Council Information Office held a press conference Monday morning in Beijing to introduce the work of civil affairs departments to prevent and control the COVID-19 epidemic and to secure people's basic livelihood. March 10, 2020

China News Service:

Mr. Zhan just said that China has issued regulations to care for community workers on the frontline of the epidemic prevention and control work. I would like to ask, what key measures will be implemented further? Thank you.

Zhan Chengfu:

After the institutional reforms, the Department of Primary Level Political Units and Community Development of the Ministry of Civil Affairs was renamed the Department of Primary Level Political Units Development and Community Governance. Today, we have the director-general of the department Chen Yueliang present. He will answer your question.

Chen Yueliang:

Thank you for your interest in community workers. The urban-rural communities are the frontline of the joint epidemic prevention work, and are also the most effective control unit in preventing external imports and internal spread. Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, urban and rural community workers have implemented the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, stuck to their position and worked around the clock. Fighting at the forefront of the anti-coronavirus battle, community workers have made great contributions to curbing the spread of the virus. As of March 8, a total of 53 community workers had died in the line of duty, of which 92.5% were CPC members.

General Secretary Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed caring for urban and rural community workers, and Premier Li Keqiang has also made specific instructions. To implement their guiding principles, the Central Leading Group on the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 held a meeting to discuss practical difficulties and questions faced by frontline community workers. It also specified basic requirements for such areas as strengthening incentives, security, safety protection and humanistic care. Eight "heartwarming" decisions have been made to solve the problems in the following five aspects: 

First, we will solve the problem of unclear regulations regarding subsidies. Concerned about the hardworking community workers, we will ensure proper subsidies are given to community workers who fight the epidemic on the frontline in urban and rural areas. Provincial-level government will guide the cities and counties to establish standards for subsidies.

Second, we will solve the problem of inadequate protection policies. Community workers in urban and rural areas who are injured or become ill during their work in the epidemic prevention and control, and conform to the conditions listed in the Regulations on Work-Related Injury Insurance shall be determined to have suffered from a work-related injury. For those who have purchased work-related injury insurance, the expenses for treatment of the injury will be paid according to the regulations. For those who have not, expenses shall be borne by the employing entity according to legal standards. The expenses incurred by the department in charge of giving financial subsidies shall be subsidized by the finance authority at the same level.

Third, we will solve the problem of insufficient protective gear. The grant money for community prevention and control work should be properly used in accordance with the regulations to improve working conditions for urban and rural community workers on the frontline. These workers should be equipped with masks, hazmat suits, disinfectants, non-contact thermometers and other protective equipment.

Fourth, we will resolutely relieve the burden on community workers in terms of formalism and bureaucracy. The notice clearly requests that authorities at different levels should avoid assigning repetitive tasks or asking workers to fill out repetitive forms. Except for the CPC Central Committee and State Council's clear requests, in principle, other authorities are not allowed to assign extra tasks to the community. Except for two documents – the residence certificate and the certificate proving completion of the medical observation period – which are required for community epidemic prevention and control, urban and rural community organizations shall not be required to issue other documents on the grounds of epidemic prevention and control. We will eliminate formalities for formalities' sake and bureaucratism with public supervision. The reported "fake practice" of Kaiyuan Mansion in Cuiyuan Community, Qingshan District, Wuhan, severely damaged the image of the Party and government, and should be resolutely corrected.

Fifth, we will issue policies of praise and honor. The notice requires that we timely commend outstanding community workers who fight the epidemic on the frontline in accordance with the relevant regulations. Those who die in the line of duty will be posthumously named as "national outstanding community workers in urban and rural areas." We will work in accordance with the law to designate those who devote their lives to the containment of the epidemic as martyrs, commend their contributions and give special pensions and preferential treatment to their family members. Thank you.

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