China’s back-to-work tips amid coronavirus pandemic


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BEIJING: Amid a ballooning caseload of COVID-19, China’s recent months of discreet reopening can offer fresh valuable lessons for an array of countries, which are now faced with rising risks posed by their hasty decision to return to a new normalcy of life and rash exit from lockdowns.
With COVID-19 largely under control at home, China has been putting economic and social activities back on track while at the same time working to prevent a potential new surge of the infectious disease that has taken a heavy toll on the human society.
To achieve this goal, a return to work should be phased and careful. Factories of medical supplies and other key materials in epidemic prevention began humming again in late January, accompanied by gradual recovery of petrochemical, telecommunications, electricity and transport industries in the following weeks. Businesses in the service sector, such as catering and retail, did not begin to bustle until the epidemic steadily receded in the country in March.
Social distancing has now become a part of everyday life in China. While wearing masks is a must in public areas, various sectors of the society have been reducing density by adopting flexible measures.
To prevent crowding, factories and companies have been offering flexible working hours and work-from-home options for employees. From Shanghai Disneyland to the Palace Museum in Beijing, tourist attractions, restaurants, and museums reopened in recent months but has been capping the daily number of visitors.
Public transport has also adopted safety measures with vigilance. When Wuhan resumed its subway service in late March after more than two months of suspension, subway carriages carried signs asking passengers to sit in between empty seats. In cities with ride-hailing drivers, their vehicles are installed with plastic sheets between the front and the rear seats to prevent contact.
Apart from those preventive measures, conducting mass coronavirus testing in key areas and maintaining temperature checks in public spaces can also help authority nip new infections in the bud.
Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s coronavirus outbreak, tested nearly 10 million residents citywide after lifting its lockdown. China’s health authority has also scaled up testing in border areas such as Mudanjiang in the northeast, where the risk of imported cases is high.
Temperature screening is stringently conducted on a broader scale nationwide. People are required to have their temperature taken while entering offices, schools and universities, restaurants, subway stations, gyms, hospitals, and communities, among others.