Leading group to ensure financial help, coordination of healthcare services
China will enact interim relief measures for COVID-19 patients who have been living below the poverty line and those who find themselves in difficulty due to the infection of family members, according to a statement released after a meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday.
The meeting of the leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on coping with the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak underlined the importance of ensuring the basic standard of living for poor people.
Local authorities must ensure financial aid for poor people, orphans and the disabled in full and on time, the statement said.
Meeting participants pledged temporary relief for patients living below poverty standards and those who have fallen below the poverty line due to the outbreak.
Families who lost loved ones due to the epidemic will receive greater help, and travelers stranded by traffic controls during the outbreak will receive food and accommodation aid if they face temporary difficulties.
Eligible urban and rural residents who experienced such difficulties as the loss of jobs and shutdown of businesses due to the outbreak will be covered by subsistence allowances, the statement said.
It called for local authorities to provide care for the elderly, children, patients and the disabled if their guardians or caregivers were isolated for treatment.
The imperative to prioritize containment of the contagion in Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, the outbreak's epicenter, was reiterated and that utmost efforts were needed to treat patients in critical condition, reduce the mortality rate and improve the recovery rate. Local authorities must ensure that each confirmed case is treated and must disclose information in a timely and transparent manner, the statement said.
For key areas such as Beijing, epidemic control and prevention efforts must focus on communities, transportation and ports, with measures to step up preparations in venues, materials and personnel to respond to emergencies.
The meeting also urged better implementation of measures to support medical workers. The support must prioritize workers devoted to receiving, screening, testing, transferring and treating COVID-19 patients, especially for severe cases, the statement said, adding that administrative rankings must not be considered in issuing allowances.
Also on Thursday, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council published a guideline on deepening reform of the medical insurance system. The government will refine medical insurance mechanisms for major epidemics to ensure that institutions offer treatment before charging patients in emergencies, the guideline said.
The guideline aims to make coordinated reform of medical insurance, healthcare and pharmaceutical services more systematic and integrated and ensure delivery of medicines that are high-quality, efficient and affordable.
The Chinese mainland reported 139 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with another 31 deaths from the outbreak, the National Health Commission said.