State Council's inter-agency task force briefing on ensuring services and supplies to people who stay for Spring Festival holiday
Beijing | 10 a.m. Jan. 27, 2021

The State Council's inter-agency task force held a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday to brief the media about the circular on ensuring services and supplies to people who stay for the Spring Festival holiday.


Zhao Chenxin, secretary general and spokesperson of the National Development and Reform Commission

Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the National Health Commission

Guo Yuqiang, director of the Department of Child Welfare of the Ministry of Civil Affairs

Zhang Ying, director of the Department of Employment Promotion of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security

Wang Yang, chief engineer and director of the Highway Bureau of the Ministry of Transport

Zhu Xiaoliang, director of the Department of Market Operation and Consumption Promotion of the Ministry of Commerce

Wang Bin, inspector of the Bureau of Disease Prevention and Control of the National Health Commission


Shou Xiaoli, deputy head of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office

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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 Department of Child Welfare of the Ministry of Civil Affairs

Zhang Ying, director of the Department of Employment Promotion 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 Pperation and Consumption Promotion of the Ministry of Commerce

Wang Bin, inspector of 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

Shou Xiaoli:

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.

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.


Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you, Mr. Zhao. Next, Mr. Zeng will have the floor.

Zeng Yixin:

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Zhao has elaborated on the arrangements for the Spring Festival holidays just now. Next, I'll brief on epidemic prevention and control.

As we all know, COVID-19 cluster infections have been spotted in China since last December. Multiple transmission chains have occurred simultaneously in the same province and city, and cases linked to cluster infection are seen amongst family members and communities. In general, new elements have emerged amid the current epidemic prevention and control works.

The first change is that epidemics often occurred in cold northern part of China. Virus can survive for a longer time in low temperatures. Besides, current epidemics are found mostly in rural areas where these are relatively fewer preventive efforts are available, thus, it is easy for the epidemic to spread.

The second change is that the number of imported COVID-19 cases has surged significantly. The average number of such cases per day in January was nearly twice that recorded last November, so China still faces mounting pressure in preventing imported COVID-19 cases.

The third change is that, as the Spring Festival approaches, the flow of people and logistic services will increase, and there will be more cluster activities such as group dining and gatherings. These will increase the risks of the spread of epidemic. Therefore, it is estimated that the risks of regional spread caused by imported COVID-19 cases and relevant objects are still high, and the epidemic situation is severe and complex.

To effectively cope with the emerging challenges of epidemic prevention and control, meanwhile working with relevant government bodies to prevent epidemic during the Spring Festival travel rush and support people to spend the holiday where they work, we will carry out work in the following aspects:

First, we will continue to take measures to reinforce weak links existing in epidemic prevention and control in rural areas. As I mentioned, current epidemics are found mostly in rural areas. In addition to urging all areas to strictly implement the measures listed in work plans for epidemic prevention and control in rural areas in winter and spring, such as nucleic acid testing, epidemiological investigation, quarantine, patient transfer, medical treatment, and information release, we will further specify the requirements needed for travel for people in areas with different risk levels. In regard to the increasing demand of nucleic acid tests for those returning to their hometowns during the Spring Festival, we will help local government improve their testing capabilities, working proactively to reduce the cost of these tests, making arrangements to help improve timeliness and convenience. China can offer 15 million nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 daily at present, and this is the figure when using a single tube, which means using one test tube to contain the samples collected from one person. If we use one test tube to contain five or even ten persons' samples, the nucleic test capacity will be further improved, and this will provide strong support for the epidemic prevention and control works.

Second, we will further standardize the handling of clustered epidemics. We have comprehensively sorted out some of the problems exposed through handling the epidemics in places such as Xinjiang's Kashgar, Hebei's Shijiazhuang, and Heilongjiang's Suihua, and refined, actualized and standardized the process of handling cluster cases throughout. We asked local governments at all levels to promptly activate their emergency command systems and quickly organize specialized epidemiological investigations and contact tracing. This work is particularly important. Once an epidemic occurs, we must locate the source as soon as possible and understand how the epidemic has occurred so that we can better take targeted measures to control the outbreak. We must then promptly, scientifically, and accurately demarcate and adjust the medium and high-risk areas, implement measures such as community and individual isolation control and nucleic acid testing in different regions and levels, and strive to keep the initiative in epidemic prevention and control in our hands. 

Third, we must continue to prevent imported cases. Above all, it is necessary to further strengthen the standardized management of the entire chain for international arrivals, from the airport to quarantine venues, and then to the community. We require all localities to prepare enough isolation rooms, comprehensively strengthen the management of isolation sites, standardize services, and avoid cross-infection. Moreover, we demand strict implementation of the responsibilities of industries and entities such as those that import cold chain food and goods. Relevant key practitioners must strictly perform personal protection and key personnel should be given priority when it comes to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. This work is ongoing. 

Fourth, we will continue to intensify the popularization of health science. Recently, various health science popularization activities have been carried out with regards to winter and spring pandemic prevention and control, and personal protection, etc. We shall widely popularize scientific protection knowledge, encouraging the masses to develop good habits in mask wearing, frequent hand washing, and social distancing. People are also advised to keep personal and environmental hygiene, maintain good ventilation, enhance personal protection awareness, and improve self-protection capabilities. This aspect is particularly important because if everyone is able to do their part well, these measures are practically effective for epidemic control.

The above is my brief introduction to the current situation. Next, my colleagues will be happy to answer your questions. 

Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you, Mr. Zeng. Now the floor is open to questions. Please inform us of the news organization you are with before asking questions.


China Daily:

It seems that it is the first time in history that people have been encouraged to stay where they are for the Spring Festival holiday. Will more cultural and leisure products and services for people who do not return to their hometowns be provided, and how will a good atmosphere be created so that everyone feels at home if they choose to stay? Thank you. 

Zhao Chenxin:

Thank you for this very important question. We need to provide good services as people are advised to stay where they work during the holiday. We will offer more colorful cultural and sports-related activities so that people who stay during the holiday can feel at home, and enjoy a good new year's celebration. 

In order to create a good festive atmosphere and better meet the spiritual and cultural needs of those who stay during the Lunar New Year, it has been clearly stated that the supply of cultural and sports programs via the internet, TV, and radio be increased, as well as the provision of free online entertainment and free screenings of films for a limited time on video streaming apps. Under the premise of doing a good job of epidemic prevention and control, as well as implementing staggered appointments to limit the number of visitors, it is necessary to ensure set opening hours for public spaces and the supply of tourism products. The relevant departments are making full and thorough preparations in accordance with these requirements, and will solidly promote various measures to be put into practice so that people can enjoy these conveniences. 

First, in terms of enriching the supply of programs, we encourage art and theater troupes and groups in low-risk areas to increase the frequency of performances in spacious venues and conduct online broadcasts under the premise of effectively preventing and controlling the epidemic. We guide local satellite TV stations to arrange and broadcast a series of TV series, shows, galas, documentaries, cartoons, etc. of various themes and genres to meet the needs of people of different ages. There will also be many high-quality movies released during the Spring Festival holiday. 

Second, in terms of expanding online services, we encourage all localities to actively organize cloud theaters and live art broadcasts, encourage libraries, museums, theaters, and other public cultural venues to carry out online services, and encourage internet audio-and-video platforms to set up special channels or sections for the Spring Festival. We will also promote a variety of national fitness events and also advocate for fitness at home. Through these means, we should be able to meet the online and offline cultural and sports needs of the masses during the festival. 

Third, in terms of holiday travel, we encourage local governments to provide rich tourism products and holiday leisure activities such as rural tours and surrounding area tours dependent on actual conditions. Outdoor spaces such as parks and stadiums should be opened to better meet the needs of local tourism and leisure for those people who stay. At the same time, scenic spots should properly control the number of visitors, improve appointment management measures, and encourage tourists to travel in staggered groups. 

Fourth, there are also relevant requirements for epidemic prevention. We will supervise various public cultural venues to implement epidemic prevention and control requirements. Cinemas, theaters, and other entertainment venues in low-risk regions must open operate at less than 75 percent capacity. Measures for epidemic prevention such as health monitoring, disinfection of venues, and registering when entering public places must be effectively implemented to reduce the risks that may be posed by gatherings.

Relevant departments will resolutely follow the deployment of the Party Central Committee and the State Council and do their best to ensure services and supplies to people who stay put for the Spring Festival holiday. We will try to make people feel at home, no matter where they are, so that the 2021 Spring Festival will still provide a happy and wonderful new year experience.

That's all I'll say. Thank you.


Economic Daily:

Migrant workers who choose to stay for the Spring Festival holiday are likely to face some inconveniences in their work and life. How can we ensure that those people can celebrate the festival in the place where they work? 

Zhang Ying:

Thank you for your question. Workers staying behind for the festival will help reduce the chances of the virus spreading, but some difficulties and problems may arise. We need to provide essential supplies and thoughtful services to make their festival comfortable and happy. As required by the circular on ensuring services and supplies to people who stay for the Spring Festival holiday released by the General Office of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the General Office of the State Council, we will implement the special action plan of "providing support and stabilizing employment during the Spring Festival" to guarantee the legal rights, such as correct salaries and leave, and interests of people who choose to stay put. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security will work with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Transport, the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development of China, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, and the All-China Women's Federation to seriously implement the decisions and deployments of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, and further implement the special action plan. We will do this by rolling out four major measures to provide care for workers who stay put, companies who resume operation, and those rural migrant workers who return to work after the Spring Festival. The four measures include:

First, we will provide wholehearted support. We will work to ensure that people who stay where they work can still enjoy a festive atmosphere. We will offer guidance for local governments to organize various forms of group activities to celebrate the Spring Festival and offer assistance. We encourage companies to give bonuses for people staying on the job. By offering this support, we hope the workers can enjoy a happy new year. 

Second, we will enhance policy support so that people can keep their jobs. For those who choose to stay, there must be proper work and arrangements. We will encourage and guide companies to take into account the production needs and willingness of the workers to reasonably arrange work, stagger employees' leave or holiday for working extra shifts, and effectively protect the legal rights and interests of workers, such as their salary and leave. At the same time, we will further enforce policies such as refunding unemployment insurance premiums to help enterprises maintain stable employment and reduce layoffs. Policies will be implemented to help enterprises retain workers' posts and salaries.

Third, we will stabilize production and retain workers. We will strengthen labor dispatch mechanisms for key firms such as those engaged in the production of medical supplies and daily necessities. We will create temporary work such as anti-epidemic and disinfection tasks and community services as needed, to balance labor demand and supply. We will strive to ensure that those who want to work can contribute to the fight against the epidemic in the city where they reside. We urge companies to pay for workers according to the law if they work during the Spring Festival.

Fourth, we will provide excellent services to support people who stay put during the Spring Festival. We will provide "131" services to job seekers in need, namely: one session for career guidance, three pieces of suitable job information, and one training program recommendation. We will hold several job fairs across various sectors and types of work. Additionally, unemployment insurance benefits and temporary living allowances will be given in time to people eligible for unemployment benefits. Wholehearted services will be offered to better meet the needs of workers during the Spring Festival.

Recently, many places have rolled out a series of measures to encourage workers to stay put. For example, subsidies and consumption coupons will be offered to workers who stay where they work in regions such as Tianjin, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. Meanwhile, in Anhui, Guangdong and other regions, free admission to scenic spots will be offered and trips will be organized to enrich people's lives during the holiday. In Tianjin, Fujian, Guangxi and other places, the government will support and reward enterprises if they maintain full capacity, stabilize employment or recruit workers. In Hunan, Gansu and other major labor exporting provinces, Spring Festival gifts will be given to left-behind families to reduce migrant workers' worry about their loved ones at home.

We will summarize and promote the exact measures across various regions in time and implement the necessary action so that those people who stay put can enjoy a happy and healthy Spring Festival. Thank you.


Beijing Radio & Television Station:

Recently, many localities have issued circulars advocating people to stay where they are currently residing during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday, and introduced detailed rules on travelers from high-, medium- and low-risk areas. It is necessary to stay put for the holiday to help prevent and control the pandemic, but will local authorities adopt a blunt, one-size-fits-all approach? Thank you.

Zeng Yixin:

I'd like to answer first, and then I'll give the floor to Ms. Wang Bin to add more information.

As I just said, the current epidemic prevention and control situation remains severe and complicated. All residents in areas at high risk of COVID-19 shall stay where they currently reside to prevent the spread of the virus; in principle, people in medium-risk areas had better stay put, and for those who need to travel under special circumstances, they shall get the permission from the local epidemic prevention and control authorities; people in low-risk areas are advised to avoid traveling unless necessary. We have rolled out a range of targeted anti-virus measures for people from areas with different risk levels who really need to travel, so as to avoid a blunt, one-size-fits-all approach. We suggest local authorities should strengthen epidemic prevention and control with scientific and targeted measures, to guide people returning to their hometowns to cooperate in the implementation of local prevention and control policies. This is a macro-level requirement. Now, I will pass over to Ms. Wang to further answer your question. 

Wang Bin:

As Mr. Zeng just said, we suggest local authorities issue detailed rules to implement anti-virus policies according to local conditions. Zhejiang province is currently dividing rural areas into three areas defined by red, yellow, and blue colors, signifying the number and place of departure of rural returnees. The local government will apply necessary adjustments during the Spring Festival holiday. Guizhou province has encouraged and guided people returning to the countryside to cooperate in the implementation of local prevention and control policies, and increased government subsidies to reduce nucleic acid test fees. Rural returnees will only pay 30 yuan to receive a nucleic acid test, with the other 50 yuan being subsidized by local governments. This can effectively motivate people to cooperate in the implementation of local prevention and control policies.

As you can see, we suggest local authorities should strengthen epidemic prevention and control with scientific and targeted measures and not adopt a blunt, one-size-fits-all approach. We hope that local authorities could provide convenient, friendly, and warm services for the people, and ensure public health and safety during the holiday period. Thank you.


The Poster News APP: 

How to ensure the supply of important domestic goods during the Spring Festival? Thank you.

Zhu Xiaoliang:

Thank you for your question. The Spring Festival is China's traditional peak season for consumption as well as a crucial period to ensure market supply, provide the conditions for people to celebrate the festival, and get off to a good start in economic development. This year's situation is special. To better contain the epidemic and implement disease control and prevention measures, more people have chosen to stay where they work during the Spring Festival, bringing new features to the consumption amid the holiday. This will also set new requirements for maintaining market supply. Attaching great importance to this issue and resolutely implementing the decisions and arrangements of the CPC and the State Council, the MOC has carefully analyzed the market situation and taken targeted measures in a timely manner. We have provided a systematic guide for all regions to carry out various measures and do everything possible to ensure market supply amid the holiday while taking strict disease anti-epidemic measures. 

First, we have intensified the organization and delivery of goods for our people to have a carefree Spring Festival. According to the changing situations, we will work with relevant departments to release 20,000 to 30,000 tons of meat from central reserves every week to add to the market supply during the Spring Festival. We have arranged all regions to scientifically predict the needs of the people who stay where they work during the holiday and release the local reserves in accordance with the actual situation. We have guided and urged large circulation enterprises to adapt to the new changes of this year's consumption market during the Spring Festival to ensure the security of supply and demand as well as the production, sale of, and dispatching of goods. In light of recent key areas in epidemic prevention and supply maintenance, we have arranged key supply maintenance enterprises to ensure access to goods and stand ready for emergency transportation of them. We have guided and coordinated relevant areas to establish and improve joint maintenance and control mechanisms across nearby regions.

Second, we have taken measures to ensure transportation and procurement channels are unblocked so that people are able to shop comfortably. By cooperating with the relevant enterprises, we have unblocked both the main channels and the micro-circulation of domestic materials. We have also made sure that service networks, such as wholesale markets for key agricultural and sideline products, restaurants, hotels, and supermarkets, will stay open and extend their opening hours during the Spring Festival, and offline daily consumption will be made more convenient. E-commerce platforms and logistics enterprises are asked to not stop deliveries to meet reduced-contact consumption needs. 

Third, we have tracked and released market information so that our people can consume assuredly. We have conducted dynamic monitoring in 185 large-scale agricultural product wholesale markets regarding their business volumes and wholesale prices. We have launched 36 daily report mechanisms for market supply situations in large and medium-sized cities to monitor and deal with unusual situations such as market fluctuations. We have published supply and demand information through multiple channels to strengthen public opinion guidance, stabilize social expectations, and boost consumer confidence. 

Fourth, we have provided supplementary activities and services so that people can spend a heartwarming Spring Festival wherever they may be. We will hold a national online New Year's shopping festival, coordinated online and offline, to carry out various promotional activities full of festival air. All regions and enterprises are encouraged to provide warm activities such as gift bags and on-duty "red pockets" for people in difficulty, vulnerable groups, and people who stay where they work for the Spring Festival, in order to raise people's sense of gain and happiness in spending the holiday amid the epidemic. 

On the day before yesterday, the MOC issued a work notice, and tomorrow we will hold a national video conference to mobilize and arrange the next step in market supply maintenance. We hope that through our work the people will have a carefree, comfortable, and heartwarming Spring Festival. Thank you.


Xinhua News Agency:

After the proposal of staying put for the Spring Festival, more people will remain in cities, and transportation needs will increase. What measures will the relevant departments take to ensure safe and convenient transportation? Thank you.

Wang Yang:

Thank you for your question. More people will answer the call to stay put during the Spring Festival and remain in the cities, and the need for transportation will increase. To ensure safe and convenient travels, we will focus on the following aspects. 

First, we have taken regular epidemic prevention and control measures. In light of this Spring Festival's epidemic prevention and control situation and summarizing the past experience in regular epidemic prevention and control, the MOC has raised the standards in epidemic prevention and control and adopted a region-specific and multi-level approach. We have specifically made the Guidelines on a Region-specific and Multi-level Approach to Epidemic Control and Prevention in Transportation Stations and Vehicles. We have guided the passenger transportation enterprises in cities to strictly implement the requirements of epidemic prevention and control, and prevent epidemic transmission through urban transportation by taking measures of scientific organization and dispatch, increased capacity allocation, and the strict control of load rates. 

Second, we have reinforced transportation service security. We have guided local transportation departments to make full use of technological methods such as big data to strengthen scientific analysis of cities' transportation needs, and monitor passenger flow in real-time. City buses, rail transportation, and taxi enterprises have been ordered to reasonably adjust their transportation capacities and operation hours in a way that meets the travel demands for shopping, relaxation, and entertainment of those people who do not return to their hometowns during the Spring Festival. 

Third, we will meet the daily travel demands of the elderly. In order to make travelling easier for seniors, my ministry will implement the plan issued by the General Office of the State Council to help seniors overcome barriers to using smart technologies. We will strengthen traditional mobility services while also promoting smart services, and improve our measures in checking up passengers' health code in urban transport. We will also help major car-hailing platforms to optimize their "one-click car-hailing" function to provide convenience for seniors, and call on taxi drivers not to ignore elderly people trying to hail a taxi on the street when they have not booked a service in advance.

The Spring Festival is a time for celebrations. During the holiday, we will continue to prioritize workplace safety. Along with other related departments, we will organize safety inspections, eliminate safety hazards in time, and urge local authorities to perform their regulatory responsibilities and for businesses to fulfill their primary responsibilities in ensuring workplace safety. We will also improve safety awareness among drivers, ensure vehicles are kept in good condition, strengthen our dynamic monitoring of vehicles in motion, preserve order of stations in order to guarantee safety and order of urban transportation during the holiday.


China Central Television:

As people are advised to stay where they work during the Spring Festival holiday, will this impact the supply and prices of daily necessities as well as energy supply? While strictly continuing epidemic prevention and control measures, what steps will be taken to meet people's daily needs? Thank you.

Zhao Chenxin:

I will take this question. Thank you. I think it will have little effect on the supplies of daily necessities and energy. No matter where we are, our needs for basic necessities and energy remain the same. However, as people celebrate the Spring Festival in the places where they work, the regional demand structure will change accordingly. The NDRC has been working with other related departments in a series of online meetings to come up with various measures to ensure supplies and price stability during the Spring Festival holiday. We have also established many cross-departmental working groups to closely monitor the situation, develop an early warning system, ensure production and market supply, and put reserves into the market if needed. We will also focus our work on the following five aspects to ensure that people can celebrate the holiday with sufficient supplies.

First, we will make coordinated efforts to ensure production and supplies. We will help large and medium-sized cities coordinate vegetable production, especially the popular fast-growing leafy greens and sprouts during the Spring Festival, facilitate the shipment of pork and other meat products, and ensure smooth trans-regional logistics as well as sufficient supplies in the market. We will also guarantee the supply of coal, electricity, oil and gas.

Second, we will precisely adjust reserves. We have done a lot of work in this regard in recent years. We will help local authorities to adjust and enrich their reserves of major necessities, continue to release frozen pork from central reserves, organize major northern cities to release their winter and spring vegetables reserves, and put into market small packaged grains and cooking oil in a timely way depending on the situation. We will also coordinate the distribution and deployment of gas and electricity, and increase the coal reserves in major regions and among power plants.

Third, we will ensure unimpeded shipment and logistics. Mr. Wang Yang from the Ministry of Transport has talked about their work arrangements. I would like to add that while implementing epidemic prevention and control measures, we have been working with other departments to help local authorities adjust and improve transportation management, clear traffic blockages, encourage logistics and delivery companies to increase their manpower and shipment capacity, to guarantee the normal shipment of products purchased via e-commerce platforms, and ensure that people's normal life won't be affected.

Fourth, we will seek to guarantee normal marketing channels. We will guide agricultural product wholesale markets, farmers' markets, grocery stores, and e-commerce platforms that sell fresh products to better manage their supplies. Currently, these businesses are restocking before the holiday. Moreover, we also encourage community-based sales outlets to open for no less than eight hours every day during the Spring Festival holiday.

Fifth, we must guarantee people's basic livelihoods. We will urge local governments to continue the practice of increasing social security assistance and benefit payments in step with price increases, and in a timely way initiate and provide in full temporary price subsidies. We will work with market regulators to strengthen market inspections, punish behavior like hoarding, profiteering and price collusion, and safeguard market order and stability.

Through these measures, we believe that people's needs for daily necessities and energy will be guaranteed. I'm sure people will be able to celebrate the new year with no worries. Thank you.


Lianhe Zaobao:

China is encouraging residents to spend the Spring Festival holiday at their current residing localities to prevent spreading the epidemic. What impact will this measure have on the economy during the traditional Spring Festival holiday? What policies will the authorities adopt to encourage people to stay where they work and live to celebrate the Spring Festival whilst boosting consumption and the overall economy? Thank you.

Zhao Chenxin:

Thank you for your questions. We undertook an immediate analysis as soon as the circular was released, and we will also discuss the issue with local governments and relevant departments in the days to come. Regarding your questions, I would like to introduce some information based on our preliminary analysis. 

This is the first time ever for us to encourage people to celebrate an in-place Spring Festival, we have to keep monitoring and undertaking follow-up analysis into the relevant impact which, I think, could be multifaceted. For example, many are concerned about the impact the policy may have on various industries, such as tourism, transportation, as well as the accommodation and catering sectors. However, we believe it will also have some positive effects.  

First, staying in cities where people work and live can be definitely conducive to epidemic prevention and control, and that will promote sustained economic recovery. If many people decide to stay in place, it will significantly reduce large-scale personnel flow and gatherings. Moreover, people will save a lot of time that they spend on travel or in finding new jobs, which will benefit resumption of business activities and recovery of industries after the holiday.

Second, it can boost consumption in local areas. If a lot of people decide to stay where they work and live, those cities and towns with a relatively large population staying put will see an increase in consumption demand. 

Third, it can promote consumption for recreational activities. Local governments have stepped up efforts to provide convenient services for colorful cultural and recreational activities, as well as excursions. People who spend the holiday where they live and work will feel the warmth there, and at the same time, the consumption during the holiday can be promoted. 

Moreover, the circular also encourages local authorities to consider people's needs during the Spring Festival holiday, and provide various consumption items and social services featuring less contact and gathering. It is expected market vitality will be spurred, and more customized, intelligent, green and high-quality products will emerge during the holiday, which will further connect urban and rural areas, cover online and offline, and in-store consumption services, so as to better meet the public's diversified and personalized consumption demand during the holiday, and unleash the potential for new-type consumption, as well as generate new driving forces for consumption. 

The information I've mentioned above are somewhat based on preliminary analysis. Going forward, we will make a further study with relevant departments, and keep monitoring, studying and analyzing the economic performance and social consumption during the holiday, so as to offer targeted measures in a timely manner. We will ensure that everyone can have a relaxed and happy Spring Festival while working together with the public to promote steady and sound economic and social development, so that every individual can enjoy the fruits of development. Thank you.  


Southern Metropolis Daily:

People are encouraged to stay in cities where they work during the upcoming Spring Festival. However, in this way, some empty nesters and left-behind children probably cannot reunite with their family. For those elderly and children, are there any measures in place which will make the epidemic prevention and control both effective and more thoughtful? Thank you.

Guo Yuqiang:

Thank you for your concern for the elderly and children left behind. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have always attached great importance to the care for the elderly, children and other special groups. In this regard, authorities have rolled out a set of measures to ensure the livelihood of those in need, as well as services and supplies for those who stay where they work during the holiday. All these measures have made clear that targeted support for the elderly and children left behind must be provided. 

In order to ensure that these disadvantaged groups have a safe, comfortable, and peaceful Spring Festival, civil affairs departments at all levels are operating under the unified command of the local Party committees and governments to take a series of measures and actions:

First, we will conduct thorough checks. Local authorities should carry out further checks on empty-nest elderly and left-behind children before the Spring Festival. Based on existing data, we will further investigate the family and migrant labor status within these two groups.

Second, we will strengthen the guidance work for providing assistance specifically designed to suit different groups. There are four aspects of the work that we have conducted. First, we have guided village (neighborhood) committees to increase regular visits to empty-nest elderly and left-behind children. Particularly, village (neighborhood) committee officials, directors and supervisors in charge of child-related works should take advantage of their experiences from front-line work and familiarity with their designated areas to find out residents' needs and provide necessary assistance. Second, we have implemented assistance and guarantee measures and provided various services which include daily care for elderly people with difficulties due to the epidemic. We have also required local authorities to optimize and simplify confirmation, review, and approval procedures for de facto unattended children, orphans, and other children in difficult situations during the epidemic prevention and control period. For those who meet these conditions, we have required that the related departments make an application, receive approval, and provide a living allowance within one month. Third, we have enhanced guidance relating to family guardianship. It is required that migrant workers have to assign a qualified caregiver to take care of their left-behind children. If it is difficult to assign someone due to practical difficulties, it should be reported to the village (neighborhood) committee. The village (neighborhood) committee should then assign qualified caregivers to the left-behind children and make sure that they are properly taken care of. Fourth, we encourage migrant workers to stay where they live and work during the holiday and encourage them to make regular phone calls and video calls to their elderly relatives and children left at home.

Third, we should conduct epidemic prevention and control work properly. We have provided instructions to local authorities to further involve empty-nest elderly and left-behind children in the unified deployment of local joint prevention and control mechanisms. Village (neighborhood) directors of child-related works should adopt suitable methods for left-behind children in order to strengthen their education on epidemic prevention and control. At the same time, under the local epidemic prevention and control requirements, directors should also provide psychological counseling services and conduct care activities.

Fourth, we should provide aid to and protection for children without guardianship due to emergencies. On Jan. 13, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, together with nine government departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission, the NHC, jointly issued documents, requiring that the village (neighborhood) committee or organizations for minor protection should be coordinated to take on temporary care duties and provide care services for those children whose parents and other guardians or entrusted caregivers cannot fully perform their responsibilities in raising and guarding them due to an emergency, such as treatment due to confirmed infection, need for centralized medical observation, or otherwise affected by the needs of epidemic prevention and control work. That's all. Thank you.


Global Times:

It was reported earlier that China plans to inoculate 50 million people against COVID-19 before the Spring Festival. so how many people have been inoculated so far? In addition, some outbreaks have revealed obvious loopholes in the epidemic prevention and control in rural areas. Have these loopholes been plugged? Thank you.

Zeng Yixin:

Thank you for your attention to the vaccination issue. Mass administration of safe and effective vaccines is the most economical and efficacious measure to prevent and control infectious diseases. Therefore, we are now conducting the inoculation program with certain priorities and in a steady and orderly manner, vaccinating key population groups at a higher risk of infection across the country. We have mainly focused on vaccinating the tens of millions of people working in key areas involving border ports and international and domestic transportation, as well as in key industries such as health care, social resources security and basic social operation services. In general, the relevant work is progressing in a smoothly and orderly way, so that the number of people vaccinated in various regions is increasing. As of Jan. 26, a total of 22.77 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in China.

We have mainly done the following work: first, we have made meticulous and thorough arrangements concerning the vaccination task and provided relevant technical guidance to localities. These have, in a coordinated manner, set up vaccination organizations and teams, and carried out pre-vaccination professional training, while taking into account their needs regarding vaccination and epidemic prevention and control, as well as local medical and health resources. Second, the standardized management of inoculation has been strengthened. We have given full play to the role of the immunization information system and promoted IT applications in vaccine management so that every vaccine can be fully traced. Before vaccinating, the subjects must be asked whether they have contraindications so as to ensure standardized inoculation. Third, efforts have been made to monitor adverse reactions and conduct medical treatment. The monitoring of adverse reactions is very important and must be conducted in strict accordance with the regulations and fully reported to the relevant authorities. In addition, professional medical workers should be present at the vaccination sites to ensure medical treatment in a timely manner in case of any adverse reactions. This is my answer to the first question.

Now, I will talk about how to plug loopholes in epidemic prevention and control in rural areas. From the perspective of recent cluster cases, problems of weak awareness of epidemic prevention and control, insufficient anti-epidemic supplies and relatively poor technologies do exist in rural areas. Some localities have even witnessed super-spreading events caused by gatherings. In order to enhance pandemic prevention and control in rural areas, the NHC, along with relevant departments, has specially put forward anti-epidemic requirements for rural areas in the present winter and in the coming spring, and have made feasible work arrangements in line with actual rural conditions from the aspects of "early detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment and effective guarantee." Here, I'd like to stress in particular the following points:

First, prevention and control measures should be more precise and scientific. We put forward targeted requirements regarding the movement of people in areas at different risk levels. People in high-risk areas or those who have been to high-risk areas within the last 14 days should stay put during the Spring Festival travel rush. In principle, the same also applies to people in medium-risk areas or those who have been to medium-risk areas within the last 14 days. Key population groups in low-risk areas, including employees in the imported cold-chain food, having direct contact with imported goods at ports, and those working in isolation sites, are required to present a negative nucleic acid test result conducted within seven days of their planned date of return to their hometowns in rural areas in another province. The rest of people in low-risk areas need to possess a green healthy code for an orderly flow.

The second is to fulfill the responsibility of "four preventions" (preventing risks involving people, objects, the environment and unknown risks). Localities should activate epidemic emergency command systems, establish and improve their task forces, strictly implement the rules of epidemic "daily report" and "zero report", and make full preparations for nucleic acid testing, isolation, medical treatment, etc. I want to particularly underline that training in COVID-19-related knowledge of medical staff at the grassroots levels in rural areas, including rural doctors, should be intensified, so as to help them detect some suspicious symptoms in a timely manner, give correct suggestions and take some necessary measures during their daily reception of patients. In this way, we can ensure timely detection, reporting and handling of COVID-19 cases.

The third is to quickly initiate an emergency response. Once an epidemic occurs, the local joint prevention and control mechanism should immediately begin its emergency response, quickly carry out an epidemiological investigation, locate the source of infection as soon as possible, determine close contacts, implement local-regional control, administer nucleic acid tests to key personnel, provide medical treatment to patients, and implement other measures to control the spread of the epidemic as soon as possible.

No chances should be taken in such critical instances. All localities and units must refine and implement various work and emergency plans in accordance with the requirements of the joint prevention and control mechanism of the State Council and carry out emergency drills for epidemic prevention and control so as to ensure that all preparations for dealing with the epidemic can be put into place. Thank you.


Cover News: 

How can the transportation department strengthen the guarantee of receiving emergency materials and production and daily necessities? In addition, will express delivery of goods continue as normal during Spring Festival?

Wang Yang:

Thanks for your question. The Ministry of Transport will conscientiously implement the spirit of the two offices' circular, strengthen work deployment, supervise and guide local transport departments to do a good job in epidemic prevention and control, and ensure emergency transportation of production and daily necessities.

First, in accordance with the deployment and arrangement of the joint prevention and control mechanism of the State Council, our ministry together with relevant departments has accelerated the establishment of a special system for traffic control and transportation support. This special system will operate 24/7 and carry out coordination, scheduling, and support work.

Second, according to the requirements of the two offices, restrictions on freight traffic in low-risk areas should be completely abolished, as already required. At the same time, we have simplified the process for those who need to apply for an emergency transport vehicle pass. Now, the process requires the carrier and the driver to download, fill in, and print the pass according to the unified format and carry it in the vehicle. At the toll stations where conditions permit, emergency green passages are required to strengthen traffic guidance, and vehicles with emergency transportation permits are guaranteed to be given priority.

Third, improve the three-level coordination and dispatching mechanism of the ministryprovince and station, and strengthen the monitoring and analysis of road network operations. In case of congestion, dispatch shall be carried out in order to alleviate traffic. At the same time, we should also strengthen coordination with relevant departments and excel in the handling of road traffic emergencies in bad weather.

Fourth, strengthen transportation support of key emergency materials, strengthen coordination and communication, and guide the relevant provincial transportation departments through the entire process seamlessly to ensure the efficient and safe arrival of key emergency materials.

As for the "last kilometer" of logistics mentioned just now, we are very concerned about the issue of express delivery. As Spring Festival approaches, the postal administration departments and delivery enterprises have taken action to strictly prevent and control the epidemic situation, while at the same time have spared no effort to provide services for people who stay where they work during the Spring Festival holiday. China Post and related express companies have announced that they "will not be closed for Spring Festival," and will ensure that the network, transportation capacity, personnel, customer service, and other aspects are guaranteed. Therefore, I believe that if you choose to purchase New Year's goods online, they will be delivered to your home as scheduled. Thank you.

Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you to all of the speakers. Thanks to friends from the media. Today's SCIO press conference is hereby concluded. Goodbye.

Translated and edited by Zhu Bochen, Zhang Rui, Guo Yiming, Wang Yiming, Wang Zhiyong, Wang Mengru, Zhang Junmian, Liu Jianing, Liu Qiang, Zhang Liying, Yan Xiaoqing, Huang Shan, Xu Xiaoxuan, Li Huiru, Xiang Bin, Fan Junmei, Wang Qian, Yang Xi, Gong Yingchun, and Tom Arnstein. In case of any discrepancy between the English and Chinese texts, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

/9    Shou Xiaoli

/9    Zhao Chenxin

/9    Zeng Yixin

/9    Guo Yuqiang

/9    Zhang Ying

/9    Wang Yang

/9    Zhu Xiaoliang

/9    Wang Bin

/9    Group photo