Millions of residents in Wuhan and other places of Central China’s Hubei Province have spent a prolonged vacation amid a tight city lockdown since the coronavirus outbreak. With visible progress in epidemic prevention and control, such as continuous fall in new confirmed cases, the virus-stricken region is gradually easing restrictions to allow some enterprises to restart operating and local residents to return to normal life.
While Business is expected to pick up in the region, which has been fighting the epidemic at a painful price, local authorities have been urged to come up with more carefully designed policies to ensure economic recovery and prevent a rebound in infections. They are advised to avoid being over-optimistic and or loosing vigilance in the coronavirus battle.
Hubei provincial government on Wednesday allowed businesses to gradually return to normal, categorizing different areas with high, medium and low risks to implement differentiated policies.
In the capital city of Wuhan, some companies, especially those related to epidemic prevention work, daily necessity production and those crucial to the supply chain, could resume work with strict epidemic prevention measures after receiving the approval of authorities. Other companies can’t restart work before March 20.
Outside Wuhan, cities and counties in the province, following different categories and arrangements, would allow companies to gradually resume work.
For example, in areas with medium risks, in addition to businesses in essential sectors, firms in agricultural production, construction, software services, legal and accounting sectors could resume, according to the official announcement.
The region, hit hard by the epidemic, is embracing the spring season, which marks a new beginning and recovery. Central and local authorities have come up with flexible approaches to help the society return to normal.
President Xi Jinping’s inspection tour to Wuhan on Tuesday injected confidence, sending a message that the coronavirus fight had entered a new phase, observers said.
During his inspection tour, Xi said that the situation in Hubei and Wuhan has shown positive changes and progress, but the task of prevention and control remains arduous.
Some local residents in Wuhan said they have been told to be prepared to return to work, including applying for a health code through a mobile app that will allow people from medium- and low-risk areas to travel freely, as the region has been under strict lockdown since January 23 and about 56 million under quarantine.
This mobile-based monitoring system aims to facilitate work resumption, as local residents could connect to local social services mini-programs and report personal information and health conditions, or they could also connect to the system through WeChat or Alipay, the apps developed by Chinese internet giants Tencent and Alibaba.