Major officials in Urumqi release phone numbers to address difficulties for locals amid COVID-19

By Liu Caiyu and Liu Xin Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/25 0:54:20

Xinjiang File Photo: VCG

In order to solve the needs of the public, major government officials in Urumqi, the capital city of Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, released their 24-hour phone numbers on Monday, including the secretary of the municipal Party committee and the mayor. 

The fight against the epidemic in Urumqi is at its most strenuous stage, and it requires an “all-out” effort to win the battle.

To help local residents deal with anxiety and solve their problems, the municipal Party secretary and mayor of Urumqi and 17 other local officials at the district level made their phone numbers public.

The latest move is aimed at addressing local residents’ problems amid the epidemic as there have been complaints among residents about the anti-epidemic measures such as a long lockdown, which may have caused inconvenience for local people in life and work.

Anti-epidemic experts said it is understandable that some residents may grumble about some anti-epidemic measures, but these measures are necessary and a must to curb the virus' spread.

The Global Times dialed the phone numbers listed on the release and found that many were engaged. The call to the secretary of Midong district Party committee went through  and the person who answered said that the secretary of the district Party committee was in a meeting. The number of the secretary of Jingkai district Party committee was transferred to a hotline that offers convenience services to residents. 

An employee who answered the phone told the Global Times that the office is responsible for solving problems raised by residents, like complaints that some vegetables were not as fresh as they wished.

An employee working for the secretary of the Urumqi county Party committee answered the phone and told the Global Times that they have arranged for the main leaders in the district to take phone calls from residents and listen to their complaints or advice. The number is available 24 hours a day.

The head of Dabancheng district called the Global Times reporter back at around mid-night and said that he just finished a meeting. He said if residents have any problems, he can help to solve them.

Medical workers collect swab samples for residents at Tianshan District in Urumqi, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 20, 2020. Urumqi is carrying out free nucleic acid tests for all residents and people who are visiting the city, in a bid to screen for novel coronavirus infections and reduce the risk of the epidemic spread.Photo:Xinhua

The city’s anti-epidemic leading group said since the outbreak, people of all ethnic groups in the city have been understanding of the general anti-epidemic situation, behaved in a united fashion, actively responded to the call of the government and cooperated with epidemic prevention and control work.

Residents of Urumqi demonstrated perseverance and a tenacious spirit and unity in winning the battle against the epidemic. If local residents have any problems, they are free to call the phone numbers of those officials at any time, the city’s anti-epidemic leading group said.

Epidemic experts said that as the epidemic in Urumqi enters its last stage of winning the battle, the city’s guard cannot be let down.

Such a long lockdown is a necessary measure to keep residents safe and prevent the virus from spreading, they said.

As a sign of gradually lifting the lockdown, Urumqi allowed some communities to ease restrictions. Residents in some housing compounds that have no COVID-19 patients can go downstairs to have fresh air, on the condition of wearing masks and keeping a certain social distance.

As of Monday, Urumqi had reported zero confirmed infections for eight consecutive days. The number of hospitalized confirmed patients fell to 183 and silent carriers dropped to 57.

The city entered into "wartime mode" to fight against COVID-19, sealing all local residential communities and banning all gatherings since mid-July as it experienced the COVID-19 resurgence. 

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