BEIJING -- China has adopted targeted measures to ensure the well-being of children and the elderly left behind during the upcoming Spring Festival, said an official from the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Wednesday.
As China has called on all residents to minimize travel during the traditional holiday to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many children and senior citizens will not be able to reunite with their families.
Local officials are required to regularly visit children and the elderly with no one taking care of them to learn their needs and provide help in a timely fashion, said Guo Yuqiang, director of the ministry's child welfare bureau, at a press conference.
The procedure for approving the subsistence allowance for children living in difficult situations, including orphans and unsupported children -- children with parents who are unable to care for them -- should be simplified, he noted.
Parents who live apart from their children due to their work should ask a qualified person to look after their children, according to Guo. If the parents have difficulties doing so, they are obliged to contact the local authorities, who will designate a caregiver on their behalf.
The Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, is an important occasion for family reunions, which falls on Feb 12 this year.