All impoverished people contracting COVID-19 outside Hubei have recovered

By Qiu Chaoyi
All impoverished people contracting COVID-19 outside Hubei have recovered, said Wang Chunyan, an official with the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.
Wang made the remarks at a press conference held by China’s Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council Wednesday. She noted that a total of 828 impoverished people across the country have contracted the virus, and 772 have recovered.
Liu Yong, an official with China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs (MOCA), introduced that multiple measures have been taken to guarantee the basic living standards for those living in hardship. For instance, Hubei has offered handouts of at least 300 yuan per person for disadvantaged groups in rural areas during the epidemic, and the figure is 500 yuan in urban areas.
Besides, it also set up temporary shelters for the impoverished out-of-towners stranded in the sealed-off province and subsidized each of them with 300 yuan on a daily basis to ensure basic living necessities. By March 31, 69 shelters have been established in Hubei, accommodating over 13,000 people with 35 million yuan allocated.
Fan Yu, vice-director of MOCA’s Social Affairs Department told the press conference that civil authorities across the country have opened 864 shelters during the epidemic. They relaxed the qualification and extended the term for rescue, offering accommodation and food for people stranded because of traffic control and failing to secure jobs.
To prevent possible reoccurrence of poverty caused by the disease, the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development issued a guideline, requesting the State Poverty Alleviation and Development Information Portal to incorporate specific groups in its system and offer timely assistance, including those who have shaken off poverty but still see possibility of returning to it, those who are about to be lifted out of poverty, and those who see sharp drop in income or surge in spending.
Statistics indicated that 2/3 of impoverished families have migrant workers who contribute 2/3 of their family income. Wu Hua, deputy director of the office’s Department of Development Guidance, introduced that 1.38 million impoverished migrant workers had been transferred to their workplaces through the point-to-point inter-provincial charter service launched by the government, and more than 20 million migrant workers in 25 provinces have returned to their job.
In 22 central and western provinces, over 60 percent of the 370,000 poverty alleviation projects have resumed work; among 28,000 poverty alleviation enterprises, 95 percent of them have cranked up again; and 28,000 workshops for poverty reduction have set the engines rolling again, accounting for 90 percent of the total.
A notice was recently issued by the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development together with 6 other relevant departments to spur the sales of poverty alleviation products. As of March 27, the 22 central and western provinces have identified 22,566 poverty alleviation products, and farm produce worth more than 2.1 billion yuan has been purchased by 9 provinces and municipalities in eastern China.
According to Wang, there are 52 counties in 7 provinces and autonomous regions across the country still remaining in poverty, and implementation plans have been made to help them get rid of poverty. Besides, the 52 counties and their 1,113 impoverished villages have established poverty reduction schemes. This year, the country’s poverty alleviation work will focus more on capital allocation, projects layout, and consumption-driven poverty alleviation.

Villagers in Shizhong village, Pinggui district of Hezhou, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region work in a poverty alleviation base that produces wood ears, March 10, 2020. Photo by Wang Yu, People’s Daily Online

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