Govt rolls out reward for medical staff, family

By Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/18 20:13:40

A medical team member (R) hugs her son before leaving for Hubei Province, in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, Feb. 16, 2020. The fifth batch of 108 medical workers from Yunnan left for Hubei Province on Sunday to aid the novel coronavirus control efforts there. (Xinhua/Hu Chao)

Chinese authorities have rolled out policies to support and award frontline medical workers and their families amid national efforts against the COVID-19 that had claimed the lives of seven medical workers and infected more than 3,000. 

Liu Zhiming, director of Wuchang Hospital in coronavirus epicenter Wuhan, passed away on Tuesday from the COVID-19 infection, the first hospital head to sacrifice due to the disease since the outbreak.  Besides Liu, the epidemic has claimed six other medical staff. 

One day before Liu died, China announced it would nominate frontline medical staff who died in the battle against COVID-19 as martyrs. 

According to the announcement of the Ministry of Veterans Affairs and Political Work Department of the China Central Military Commission, family members of medical workers who died will receive a martyr's pension and psychological counseling, and their requests will be given priority. 

The public hailed the move, with netizens giving a thumbs-up to the frontline medical staff and calling them "warriors."

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said 3,019 medical personnel were infected with COVID-19.

The government recently announced a series of policies that favor frontline medical staff, including material rewards and special benefits for their children. 

The Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security declared on Monday that salary distribution, bonus, and welfare for personnel in public institutions should favor outstanding staff fighting in the frontline of the battle against the coronavirus. 

Education authorities in Hubei Province on Tuesday said it is offering 10 extra points to frontline medical staff's children who will take this year's high-school entrance exam. 

Similarly, education authorities in Southwest China's Sichuan Province on February 12 decided to provide children of frontline medical staff an opportunity to select a school of their choice (from kindergarten to high school). They will be admitted either directly or by priority.

"They deserve all the rewards and compliments for their selfless sacrifice, as they are risking their lives to save the country," a net user on Sina Weibo said. 

But some questioned the fairness of expanding favors to their children. 

Zhu Lijia, a professor of public management at the Chinese Academy of Governance, told the Global Times on Tuesday that as the battle against the epidemic is in the counter-attack stage, the spiritual and material rewards will inspire medical workers in the frontline, which shows the country and people's continuous support. 

Zhu said the special education policy for medical workers' children is proper and understandable, as "their family members and children also shoulder huge risks and mental strain more than others."

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