BEIJING, China – Following the extended holiday in China due to the coronavirus outbreak, the economy of the country is expected to turn back to normal on Monday, although a considerable number of factories and stores will stay closed and many employees will remain working from home.
The Lunar New Year holiday in China usually only ends in a week. However, it was extended to 10 days this year over the mounting concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. From recent reports, there are already a recorded 722 people who died because of the virus as of Saturday morning.
With the extended holiday and the fears of the people, major cities in China, such as Shanghai and Beijing, are looking like ghost towns. Restaurants and shops are either empty or closed. Transportation curbs in the cities were also enforced as a part of the containment measures of the virus.
A lot of business owners in Shenzhen, the country’s southern technology hub, are also taking precautions that will prevent their employees from going towards large crowds. Employers have reportedly asked their workers to self-quarantine for around 14 days, especially those who have recently traveled.
In recent day, the calls that the hotlines of an NGO that serves migrant workers have also increased.
According to the spokesperson of the Inno Community Development Organization, Ice Huang, people are starting to ask if there will be a notice for work suspension if the factory they are working in hasn’t put enough safety measures. A lot of calls they received are also from people asking how they could travel with the roads closed.
On Friday, Apple announced that the retail stores they have in the country would remain closed, despite the company working towards the opening of its contact centers and corporate offices in China.
Meanwhile, Foxconn, Apple’s supplier, plans to open and restart their factories gradually and expects to resume the full capacity of their production by the end of February.
Tesla’s factory in Shanghai, on the other hand, is expected to reopen on Monday.
China’s economy has recently been slow-moving, and the toll it has taken as of late has been heavy. Goldman Sachs, for one, has already cut its GDP for the first quarter from the previous 5.6% to its current 4%. The company has even stated that a deeper hit might be in the future.
However, Sunday is expected to be a peak travel day as the Lunar New Year holiday ends according to a Transport Ministry official. Millions of Chinese are expected to return home from their holidays.