The General Office of the State Council released a circular on Jan 21, requiring local departments to enhance support for people living in difficulty as the Chinese Lunar New Year approaches, on the basis of existing assistance offered since 2020 to safeguard their basic needs affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, floods and rare low temperatures.
The circular stressed ensuring sufficient supplies and stable prices for daily necessities such as vegetables, eggs and meat during the festival, through strengthened price monitoring and market regulation, in order to ensure production capacity, smooth transportation and guaranteed quality.
Social aid and social insurance should be aligned with the price standard as necessary, it said.
Depending on local conditions, holiday or temporary living subsidies should reach needy groups, including people living on minimum subsistence allowances, impoverished individuals, and orphans.
For impoverished families in cold regions, assistance with heating should be offered to keep them warm in winter.
Coupled with existing population information, a complete low-income resident database should be created to spot eligible candidates and issue grants in a timely manner.
Visits should be made to vulnerable groups facing economic difficulties, such as elderly people living alone, rural left-behind children, the homeless, and those with physical disabilities or mental disorders, with targeted assistance and care services to follow.
To help with post-disaster recovery efforts, the promised temporary central funds should all be given to affected individuals before Spring Festival, in addition to restoring their homes damaged or destroyed by disasters.
Meanwhile, the circular called for sound disaster preparedness during this winter and next spring, including an emergency response mechanism and the ability to quickly allocate relief funds and resources.
Specialized institutions providing services for the elderly, children, and the homeless, among other vulnerable groups in need, should follow epidemic prevention and control requirements.
The circular also urged timely aid and assistance to people suffering the impact of the epidemic, in the form of offering temporary aid to certain COVID-19 patients, extending assistance to urban and rural residents unable to sustain their life due to the epidemic, as well as taking care of the elderly, the disabled and children left unprotected. Work should also be done to support rural migrant workers and students staying put during the holiday.