Call to resume highway transport in Hubei
The General Office of the State Council has issued a notice requiring orderly resumption of highway transport in Hubei province, Xinhua News Agency reported on Feb 8.
The province, and especially provincial capital Wuhan, which has shut down public transport due to the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, should make plans for buses and taxis, including those hailed online, to offer services to doctors, employees providing public services and the vulnerable, including the disabled and pregnant.
Regions outside Hubei should resume intercity passenger transport, urban public transport and taxi services according to their plans to resume business operations and school classes.
They should take effective measures to ensure enough transport capacity and passengers' safety.
All regions and related departments should also make the shipment of emergency supplies to Hubei, and especially Wuhan, the top priority and ensure their smooth transportation.
They should improve their traffic restriction policies, the office said, banning them from closing expressway entrances or exits.
Authorities are also banned from blocking major national and provincial highways without government approval, and must not block countryside roads with "hard barricades" or dig them up.
They must not obstruct the passage of vehicles carrying emergency supplies, and the setting up of checkpoints at rest stops, toll stations or on major national and provincial highways with out government approval is also banned.
Financial help for firms involved in virus fight
The central government has decided to enhance financial support for key companies to help win the battle against the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, an emergency notice issued on Feb 7 said.
The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will make a national list of such companies from nominations submitted by provincial authorities and other organizations.
The provinces of Hubei, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Henan, Hunan, Anhui and Jiangxi will be allowed to come up with their own lists, as will the municipalities of Chongqing, Beijing and Shanghai.
Companies that should be on the lists include those making vital medical materials, such as protective clothing, masks, goggles, test kits, negative pressure ambulances and medicines.
Also eligible for financial support are companies that produce important components for the medical materials, companies that purchase and stock the materials, and those who make important equipment or daily necessities, providers of telecommunication services and those who deliver or sell such items.
The People's Bank of China, the central bank, will lend to nine national and some local banks and support them in offering concessional loans to companies on the lists.
The central government will allocate funds to provide subsidies and reduce interest rates on the concessional loans. The companies should invest all the loans from the program in production and operation related to disease control.
They should actively expand their production capacities, waste no time in increasing supplies, follow the State's distribution plans and ensure steady supplies.
How the money is being used should be reviewed and monitored strictly, the notice said. Banks, including the central bank, audit authorities, fiscal authorities, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the companies themselves should all play their part.
Those who violate the law, including companies who obtain money through cheating, will be punished, the notice said.
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