Medical professionals conduct health checkups for rural residents and provide them with treatment and medicines in Miaoqian village, Changning, Hunan province, on Thursday. (Photo/Xinhua)
Local authorities can limit the scale, duration and frequency of events including fairs, weddings and funerals to control COVID-19 in rural areas, according to a guideline released on Wednesday.
Issued by the State Council's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, the country's COVID-19 control task force, the guideline asked local governments to step up their management of key venues and events as the Spring Festival approaches.
They are authorized to suspend operations at entertainment and religious venues; shorten the business hours of farm produce markets and banks; and prevent restaurants from offering dine-in services or require them to operate at reduced capacity, the guideline said.
The guideline asked township and village authorities to register vulnerable groups and keep track of elderly residents with preexisting conditions, disabled and pregnant people and orphans in case they need medical services.
Local authorities are also tasked with conducting regular inspections, delivering medication, transporting patients to bigger hospitals and raising awareness about epidemic control, it said.
Efforts must be made to guide villagers to get vaccinated, wear masks and avoid gatherings and spending time with elderly relatives with underlying illnesses, the guideline said. It added that antigen test kits or nucleic acid tests must be made available for feverish patients.
Farmers who have cars are encouraged to participate in volunteer groups that transport patients and anti-pandemic materials. Village health clinics must ensure they have at least a two-week supply of medication, to which vulnerable groups or those with financial difficulties have priority access, the guideline added.
Local authorities must also coordinate disease control measures at crop plantations, animal farms and logistics involving farm produce.