Zhao Chenxin, secretary general and spokesperson of the National Development and Reform Commission
Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC)
Guo Yuqiang, director of the child welfare department of the Ministry of Civil Affairs
Zhang Ying, director of the employment promotion department of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security
Wang Yang, chief engineer of the Ministry of Transport and director of its department of highways
Zhu Xiaoliang, director of the department of market operation and consumption promotion of the Ministry of Commerce
Wang Bin, inspector at the bureau of disease prevention and control of the NHC
Shou Xiaoli, deputy head of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office
Jan. 27, 2021
Ladies and gentlemen, good morning and welcome to this press conference. Recently, the general offices of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council issued a circular on how to ensure services and supplies to people who stay put during the Spring Festival holiday. The document has drawn significant attention from across society.
To help people better understand the circular, we have invited Mr. Zhao Chenxin, secretary general and spokesperson of the National Development and Reform Commission; Mr. Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC); Mr. Guo Yuqiang, director of the child welfare department of the Ministry of Civil Affairs; Ms. Zhang Ying, director of the employment promotion department of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security; Mr. Wang Yang, chief engineer of the Ministry of Transport and director of its department of highways; Mr. Zhu Xiaoliang, director of the department of market operation and consumption promotion of the Ministry of Commerce; and Ms. Wang Bin, inspector at the bureau of disease prevention and control of the NHC. They will brief you on the circular and answer your questions. Now, I would like to give the floor to Mr. Zhao Chenxin.
Good morning, friends from the media.
Currently, the coronavirus continues to spread abroad, while clusters and sporadic cases have been reported domestically, intensifying the pressure of "preventing inbound cases and domestic resurgence." As the Spring Festival holiday approaches, we will see an increase in domestic travel, returning to their hometowns and taking part in gatherings. This means that there is a higher risk of transmission and a more complex situation for epidemic prevention and control. In this context, calling on people to avoid non-essential travel and ensuring the livelihoods for those who stay put are significant factors in reducing the risks of transmission, protecting people's lives and health, and guaranteeing people a happy, peaceful, and safe Spring Festival.
Approved by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the general offices have recently issued a circular on how to secure services and supplies for people who stay put during the Spring Festival holiday. According to the circular, local authorities and government departments should perform their regular duties well and strengthen epidemic control. At the same time, they are required to focus on the following seven aspects in response to an increase in the number of people who will stay put during the holiday.
First, guide people in a reasonable and orderly way. All residents in high-risk COVID-19 regions shall stay where they currently reside; in principle, people in medium-risk regions should also stay put; and those in low-risk regions are advised to also do so. In addition, staff members of government agencies, public institutions, and state-owned enterprises shall take the lead in staying where they live and work during the holiday.
Second, ensure the supply of daily necessities. Effective measures should be taken to ensure the supply of daily necessities and energy, as well as the availability and price stability of major commodities. Efforts should also be made to meet people's needs for various online and offline cultural, sports, and tourism activities during the holiday.
Third, improve management and services. Local authorities and government departments should enhance grid-based and meticulous management of communities in both urban and rural areas; reinforce the livelihoods and safety management of people who stay put during the Spring Festival holiday; and provide subsidies and assistance to special groups and people living in difficult circumstances.
Fourth, guarantee smooth logistics and transportation services. Work should be done to ensure convenient and orderly public transport services; provide better transport services for the elderly and other special groups; facilitate the transportation of supplies for emergencies, work, and daily life; and ensure unimpeded delivery via postal services.
Fifth, protect lawful rights and interests. Enterprises are encouraged to guide employees to stay at work while guaranteeing their livelihoods as well as salary and vocation rights. Efforts should also be made to ensure that those who work during the holiday enjoy due overtime payments in accordance with relevant laws.
Sixth, build a positive environment. Local authorities and government departments should publicize the measures to ensure the supply of daily necessities, improve transport services, and suitable care for the needs of the people. They should also pay close attention to hotly debated issues on staying put during the holiday and give a timely response to people's concerns.
Seventh, ensure full implementation. Local authorities and government departments must constantly hold in their hearts the interests and concerns of the people, take coordinated measures to strengthen epidemic control, and guarantee services and supplies with high political awareness to ensure that the people enjoy a safe and secure Spring Festival holiday.
We noticed that many localities have introduced initiatives, policies, and measures to encourage people to stay in their current place of residence during the holiday, and many people have decided to stay put. However, some are concerned as to whether remaining where they are is mandatory, and whether they will face strict prevention and control requirements if they have to return to their hometowns. Regarding those concerns, I would like to emphasize two points:
First, policies concerning Spring Festival travel are implemented based on different categories and levels. Areas with medium and high risk of COVID-19 should strictly carry out relevant regulations that are clearly stated in the document. People in low-risk areas are encouraged to spend the Spring Festival where they work and avoid nonessential travel. If they really have no alternative, we hope they avoid traveling to medium- and high-risk areas. When implementing these policies, local governments at different levels should not put forward additional requirements of their own, and it is absolutely forbidden to impose total uniformity on the implementation process. People's travel and return to their hometowns should not be prohibited, and more support and convenience should be provided to the general public.
Second, we should ensure people's livelihood is well-supported when spending Spring Festival where they work. The notice clearly states that leading officials of local governments across the country should act and make arrangements on strengthening the coordinating works, improving detailed measures, and fulfilling government's responsibilities at different levels, in a bid to ensure the supply of daily materials and the stabilization of prices during the Spring Festival holiday. Local governments should make coordinated efforts to support services such as transportation, logistics, salary and vacation, culture and sports activities, and social assistance. They should work to solve people's problems and difficulties in a timely manner, so that everyone can feel relieved and spend an enjoyable Spring Festival holiday where they work.
Last but not least, I want to say that practice has proven that China did a good job in epidemic prevention and control last year, and this has benefited not only the general public, but also our country as a whole. However, to prevent and control the epidemic requires everyone's participation. Of course, there are many ways of doing this, and choosing to avoid Spring Festival travel is one of the important ways currently. In regard to nationwide initiatives, the needs for epidemic prevention and control, as well as the support provided for people's livelihood, avoiding traveling during the Spring Festival holiday is the greatest support for the prevention efforts. In doing so, we can also celebrate a more meaningful Lunar New Year.
That's all of my introduction. My colleagues and myself are willing to answer your questions later. Thank you.