China spent over $61.7bln on fight against COVID-19 last year

Beijing, Mar 5 (Bureau) China spent more than 400 billion yuan ($61.7 billion) on measures countering the coronavirus pandemic last year, a government report on the execution of the budget for 2020 said on Friday. “We strengthened oversight on the allocation and use of funds, while anti-epidemic expenditures from finance authorities at all levels exceeded 400 billion yuan, providing related work with firm support,” the report said. Additionally, the report said that COVID-19 patients received free medical treatment, while frontline medical staff and epidemic prevention workers were granted temporary work subsidies.

The government also reduced or waived the taxes and fees for key enterprises involved in producing epidemic prevention and control supplies. “At the same time, we vigorously supported the development of the public health system, the major epidemic containment and treatment system, and the emergency supply system in order to raise our capacity to handle major public health emergencies and ramp up the production of emergency supplies,” the report read. The coronavirus was first detected in China’s eastern city of Wuhan in late December 2019, with initial reports linking the first cases to a local wet market.