Chinese transport and public security authorities on Wednesday rolled out emergency measures to ensure steady transport of essential supplies to Beijing and North China's Hebei Province, saying that new outbreak of COVID-19 clusters in Hebei has caused a serious challenge for transportation ahead of a major holiday season.
In an urgent notice, the Ministry of Transport (MOT), the Ministry of Public Security and the State Post Bureau said that all measures would be taken to ensure smooth passage of trucks carrying supplies for anti-virus efforts in Hebei, where more than 22 million people in Shijiazhuang and two other smaller cities have been put under lockdown in light of the new outbreak just south of Beijing.
The outbreak, coupled with rising holiday travel and demand for medical supplies ahead of the Chinese New Year, which falls on February 11, has made "the task of emergency material transportation and traffic support very arduous," the ministries said in the notice, according to the official WeChat account of the MOT.
On Wednesday, Hebei officials reported a total of 90 new confirmed cases for Tuesday, including 84 cases in the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang and six in the city of Xintai, according to official data.
To ensure the steady supply of food and other materials, the ministries said that arrangements would be made to gradually resume delivery services in Shijiazhuang, Xintai and other areas in the province. A distribution center would be set up near Shijiazhuang to support the delivery of essential supplies.
Also, the ministries said that measures would be taken to ensure the supply of fresh produce to Beijing, including issuing special permits for trucks and other means of transport that carry food and farm goods to the capital city.