COVID-19

China’s industries resume production as government officials ease restrictions

Jennifer Pak Mar 30, 2020
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Chinese industrial workers return to the job. STR/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

China’s industries resume production as government officials ease restrictions

Jennifer Pak Mar 30, 2020
Chinese industrial workers return to the job. STR/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Nearly all of China’s major industrial companies have reportedly resumed production — Chinese officials put the number at over 95% of large enterprises, including in the hard-hit province of Hubei — after much of the country’s economy shut down to contain the COVID-19 virus. But back to work doesn’t mean back to normal.

Chinese officials say major enterprises in the country’s main industrial belt — the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong — are basically fully open, but a quarter of small- and medium-sized businesses in China are still shut down.

The biggest complaints from companies are travel restrictions and mandatory 14-day self-quarantines, which prevent some of their employees from doing their jobs.

Local Communist Party officials are under immense pressure to restart economic activity and contain the coronavirus — two things that don’t always go together.

Cars and people are back on the streets of Shanghai. The parks are open and simple stuff like going to the movies or visiting a tourist hotspot is gradually being allowed again. Over the weekend, however, officials ordered them to close to prevent the risk of new infection.

Chinese officials are still cautious about restarting the world’s second-largest economy.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?

This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.

Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?

India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

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