Cities in China are slowly returning to the bustle after two weeks of being ghosted as the Community Party rulers ordered virtual lockdowns, cancelled flights, closed factories and shut schools. As the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak reached to 811 on Sunday, passing the number killed globally by the SARS epidemic, authorities made plans for millions of people returning to work after an extended Lunar New Year break. The outbreak has hit the economy of the country quite severely as China saw dips in stocks and oils as shares slumped and investors switched to the safer side of investing in gold, bonds and the Japanese Yen.
The Chinese cabinet said on Sunday that they would ensure a smooth return of employees to work in key industries such as food and medicines. However, the State Council’s special coronavirus group also said workers should return in “batches”, rather than all at once, to reduce infection risks. The Finance Ministry also gave a statement saying that the government has allocated a total of $10.26 billion to fight Coronavirus as of now. In a statement on its website, the ministry stated that they will deploy the funds to ensure that members of the public can afford diagnosis and treatment. The funds will also be used to ensure that efforts of every region to fight the virus are not hampered by financial constraints, it added.
Since the outbreak, the virus has also spread to at least 27 countries and regions, according to a Reuters count, infecting more than 330 people and causing a state of a global health emergency. Two deaths have been reported outside mainland China – both of Chinese nationals. Countries all over the world have placed major restrictions on travel to take precaution over the spread of the virus and passengers travelling from China have been quarantined to carry out thorough health checks at the airports. People have been encouraged to not travel to China unless necessary. A team of experts headed by the World Health Organization (WHO) also flew into Beijing on Monday to help assess the outbreak.