Coronavirus: Is Wuhan Returning to Normal?
Date: 2020-04-17 02:07:43
After more than two months of lockdown, most of Wuhan’s 11 million residents are now free to venture out, with coronavirus infections dwindling from thousands of new cases a day in mid-February to just a handful a week.
While factories around Wuhan are working around the clock to get back up to speed, the recovery of consumer-focused businesses won’t be so straightforward. Although people are cautiously taking to the streets again, they remain subject to curbs on their movements aimed at keeping the virus at bay. Residents are encouraged to stay home and still must have their temperatures checked before entering any building. In other words, it’s far from business as usual.
While many hope to pick up where they left off, Wuhan’s cautious emergence shows it likely won’t be that easy. The city, once a bustling hub for steel and auto manufacturing, remains gripped by fear of reinfection. Companies are testing employees before they’re allowed back to work and disinfecting their premises daily. If a customer or worker gets the virus, businesses typically have to shut down again for weeks of quarantine—something even the most painstakingly prepared business plan can’t predict.
Wuhan’s reopening is being watched by other cities for lessons on how resumption of normal life after a lockdown is possible. Yet tactics such as the blood and spit tests for workers aren’t likely to be adopted in Western cities because of privacy concerns. It’s unclear if the Chinese government is collecting the data being generated by these tests.
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