Seniors, children in rural areas priority in COVID protection

BEIJING: Authorities have pledged to continue to prioritize seniors and young children in rural areas as the group that needs the most protection against COVID-19, even though the virus had subsided nationwide.
The weeklong Spring Festival holiday, which officially ended on Jan 27, didn’t cause a spike of COVID-19 infections in thinly resourced rural areas as experts had feared, and the risk for the virus to further spread among farmers was described by a senior agricultural official on Friday as low.
The official, Wu Hongyao, deputy director of the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group and a senior Party official at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, came to the conclusion based on local health data.
He told a teleconference with rural affairs officials from across the country that new COVID-19 cases are dropping steadily in the countryside regardless of increased gatherings and the typical mass migrations during the Chinese New Year festivities.
However, Wu urged officials to still monitor the “left-behind” older adults and young children in the countryside, as well as rural nursing home residents as their younger relatives left to go back to cities for work after the holiday.
Efforts must be made to ensure such groups have adequate support and monitoring so as to prevent “incidents that test the bottom line of social morals” from happening.
For months, Chinese rural areas, where hospitals lag behind cities in aspects including critical-care resources and highly trained doctors, have been referred to as a weak point in the fight against the elusive Omicron variant.
–The Daily Mail-China Daily news exchange item