A press conference on the novel coronavirus epidemic prevention and control and enterprises' resumption of work is held by the national joint prevention and control mechanism in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 11, 2020. (Xinhua/Pan Xu)
BEIJING, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- China has been taking measures to ensure the smooth transport of supplies for epidemic control while blocking the novel coronavirus from spreading, a transport official said Tuesday.
All-out efforts are being made to keep the transportation network and the "green channels" operational while curbing the spread of the virus through traffic control, Xu Yahua, an official with the Ministry of Transport, told a press conference.
To ensure smooth traffic flow across the nation, local authorities are not allowed to close expressways or block key highways, cut off rural roads or obstruct emergency transport vehicles, Xu said.
The ministry has also strengthened traffic diversion and control, as well as set up epidemic checkpoints in collaboration with local health and police departments.
Meanwhile, the transportation of emergency supplies to the hardest-hit Hubei Province and other key areas shall be prioritized on highways, according to Xu.
By Monday, 166,000 tonnes of supplies for the prevention and control of the epidemic and 688,000 tonnes of production materials such as thermal coal and fuel oil have been transported into Hubei.
"Passenger transport is also returning to normal levels as people start returning to work," Xu said. Inter-provincial and inter-city transport in some provinces have gradually resumed operation, along with urban public transport services.
Xu estimated that another 160 million people will make return journeys by Feb. 18, when the Spring Festival travel rush ends.