China's transportation sector has strengthened measures to ensure the smooth flow of goods, amid the impact of COVID-19 outbreaks on logistics networks, officials from the Ministry of Transport said on Friday.
The ministry will make all efforts to ensure the smooth operation of the transportation and logistics network, and shore up economic and social development, ministry spokesman Shu Chi said at a news conference.
Problems will be swiftly addressed and hotlines provided nationwide for truckers and other transportation workers to submit complaints and concerns, he said.
"Once a complaint involving excessive measures has been reported, it will be answered accordingly and corrected immediately to solve any problem holding up traffic and logistics," Shu said.
Faced with the recent COVID-19 outbreaks, some truckers have reported experiencing stringent or excessive epidemic control in some areas. A number of farmers in Central China's Henan province have complained that their vegetables could not be sold at reasonable prices or sold at all due to traffic being blocked for epidemic control reasons, according to local media.
The ministry will also strengthen coordination between different government departments and provinces and provide guidance to local service providers and practitioners. It will organize meetings for inspections aimed at implementation, identifying new problems and solving them accordingly, said Zhou Min, deputy director of the ministry's emergency response office.
The ministry will also carry out nationwide training to help local practitioners better understand policy to improve tailored epidemic control measures, he said.
China rolled out upgraded measures for epidemic control this month. These include reducing COVID-19 quarantine times for incoming international travel, no longer tracing secondary close contacts of confirmed cases and canceling "circuit breaker" mechanisms for inbound flights.
The Ministry of Transport has also upgraded optimized measures in the sector, such as correcting excessive measures to curb logistics.
Stringent or excessive epidemic control measures have to be corrected to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on economic and social development and ensure the smooth running of transportation and logistics, Han Jinghua, deputy director of the ministry's transport department, said at an earlier news conference.
"Simply shutting down transport infrastructure facilities or restraining transport services for epidemic control is prohibited," he said.
Han noted that imposing excessive measures on truck drivers, such as prohibiting trucking services in "lockdown" areas or stopping truckers waiting for nucleic acid test results, is also banned.
Han said the ministry will enhance inspections to ensure such behaviors are corrected to end the gridlock in logistics and transportation networks.