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Leading group on virus prevention, control unveils further plans

Updated: Feb 02,2020 10:06 PM

As China continues to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak, some provinces may allow more flexibility in work resumption when necessary, market supplies in each region should be sufficient while epidemic prevention and control efforts are advanced, and Hubei province, especially Wuhan and surrounding areas, needs stronger support in terms of medical resources.

These arrangements were made on Feb 2 at a meeting of the Communist Party of China Central Committee leading group on novel coronavirus prevention and control, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the group.

Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and deputy head of the group, also attended the meeting.

To help with the epidemic fight, the State Council has permitted some provinces to adopt flexible schedules for industries to resume work after the Lunar New Year holiday, stressing the timely resumption of work in industries essential for preventing and controlling the virus involving public utilities, the national economy, people’s livelihoods and major projects.

The move, the group said, will prevent large population flows as the holiday ends and thus lower the risk of the virus spreading.

For businesses and public institutions that remain open, off-peak hour commuting and working from home are recommended, if possible.

Proper measures are needed to guide migrant workers and other groups to avoid the current travel rush and return to cities in batches.

The meeting also called for stable supplies of medical resources needed to prevent and control the epidemic, and basic necessities of life.

Each local government should promptly gain a clear picture of the region’s supply of and demand for essential virus-related products, such as drugs and items for protection and disinfection purposes, and vigorously support those manufacturers to start production as early as possible and expand capacity to the greatest extent possible.

Increasing necessities of life available requires quick reopening of key enterprises supplying grains, cooking oil and processed food and those in the energy sector.

With priority given to transporting important materials like thermal coal, grains and vegetables, the group urged building "green channels" to enable wholesalers and logistics companies to deliver them smoothly to urban supermarkets, convenience stores and communities without delay.

Priority should be given to Hubei, especially Wuhan, in securing supplies used for epidemic prevention and control. Hospital construction should be accelerated, and medical staff should be guaranteed by dispatching more professional personnel majoring at respiration, critical diseases and nursing care from across the country. Related factories should return to work and reach target outputs at a quicker pace to make up the gaps in key medical materials such as medical masks and protective suits in Hubei.

As mentioned at the meeting, departments under the State Council novel coronavirus prevention and control mechanism should take up their responsibilities and strengthen coordination to solve problems that may occur in the process of production and transportation of medical supplies. The National Health Commission should draft standards on classification of medical materials to optimize use of limited resources. Hubei should also employ good management in this field.

Local authorities should earnestly carry out instructions from President Xi Jinping by promoting containment and mitigation efforts at the primary level, sticking to an open and transparent attitude, and discovering, reporting, quarantining and treating patients at the earliest time to win the battle against the virus.

Ding Xuexiang, Huang Kunming, Cai Qi, Wang Yi, Xiao Jie, and Zhao Kezhi, all members of the leading group, also attended the meeting.