29 April 2022, China: Agricultural and health authorities in regions with no COVID-19 cases must not prevent farmers from working their fields in the name of epidemic prevention, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the National Health Commission said.
In guidelines released on April 22, the two departments stated that spring farm work is at a vital stage, and local authorities must ensure the work is not disrupted while containing COVID-19 strictly.
In regions with no cases, authorities should encourage farmers to get vaccinated, follow epidemic prevention requirements and engage in farm work while enhancing measures for self-protection.
Authorities are further prohibited from setting up sentry posts and blocking passage between villages and their surroundings without permission.
They should also clear away any existing obstacles to ensure that farmers are able to return to their homes in time and that the transportation of agricultural materials and produce is not held up.
The notice offered guidance for farmers in regions where there are COVID-19 cases to help them safely carry out farm work and prevent transmission.
As for farmers trapped in cities struck by serious outbreaks but who need to return to the countryside to work, local authorities should help facilitate this by clarifying the requirements they need to meet and procedures they need to follow.
Those who are already locked down in urban or rural areas, however, are not permitted to leave for farm work until the lockdowns are lifted.