China continued to scale up its support of the disadvantaged in 2020, particularly those falling into difficulty due to the impact of COVID-19, said the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Tuesday.

The country provided additional allowances totaling 28.5 billion yuan (about 4.42 billion U.S. dollars) for those affected by the epidemic in 2020, said Li Jiheng, minister of civil affairs, at a press conference.

In 2020, approximately 12.13 million individuals with disabilities were offered living allowances, and 14.74 million received nursing allowances, said Li.

Li noted that 2020 also saw 254,000 unsupported children -- children with parents who are unable to care for them -- included in a special security system.