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Policy digest: Recent policy moves in China

Zhang Yunbi
Updated: Jan 26,2021 08:53    China Daily

Rural areas a priority in COVID-19 prevention

Authorities have been urged to prioritize COVID-19 prevention and control measures in rural areas to plug loopholes in monitoring the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Areas near airports, outer suburbs and places that will have a large inflow of migrant workers during Spring Festival should receive special attention, according to a circular issued on Jan 20 by the State Council's joint prevention and control mechanism against COVID-19. The circular also suggested breaking down areas into grids and refining the management of COVID-19 prevention and control work.

Checking packages and goods sent from abroad, the disposal of trash around airports and disinfection should be centrally managed, the circular said.

The frequency of polymerase chain reaction tests will be stepped up for service sector workers in both urban and rural areas, especially those engaged in cold-chain logistics.

Daily health monitoring and information gathering will be reinforced for those who return to rural areas during Spring Festival, and authorities will urge them to reduce travel and take protective measures.

The circular also highlighted improving the capacity of early detection of COVID-19 infections, and asked for the expansion of PCR tests for those facing potential exposure or who are more vulnerable to the virus.

Such tests will take place on a regular basis and include grassroots staff members at medical and health institutions and individual clinics, as well as those who have come into contact with confirmed cases.

After medical consultations, all instances of fever should be reported immediately and clinics and pharmacies should identify and keep records of customers given drugs to treat their condition, including antivirals and antibiotics.

Patients with symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat, loss of the sense of taste and diarrhea must be reported to the township health center within two hours.

The number of public gatherings in rural areas needs to be reduced and local customs adapted to conform with disease control measures. Illegal religious activities must be eliminated in accordance with the law, the circular said.

Assistance pledged for disaster survivors

Relief measures should be established for disaster survivors to meet their basic daily needs, according to a circular issued by the State Council General Office on Jan 21. The circular was issued following a number of natural disasters in China last year, including widespread floods.

Authorities will speed up the progress of channeling central government relief funds to tackle short-term financial difficulties encountered in winter and early spring.

Measures will be taken to ensure that the funds are fully distributed prior to the Spring Festival holiday. Relief measures should be prioritized to ensure the efficacy of the mission, the circular said.

Authorities have been asked to make use of all policies and funds to support people restoring and rebuilding their houses and help them move into their new homes as soon as possible.

Assistance and relief will also be offered to people who need temporary resettlement as a result of their houses being damaged in a disaster.

Authorities and local governments are also required to complete preparations for the prevention of and response to various disasters that may occur during the remainder of winter and spring. Emergency responses should be made in a timely manner and relief funds and materials allocated quickly, the circular said.

The circular also urged temporary assistance be given to poverty-stricken people and low-income families affected by COVID-19, and the relief measures can be increased for specific cases, the circular said.