Employees are seeing the end of the first week back at the office after an extended holiday due to the novel coronavirus. “People are concerned and worried about returning to work,” Chen Hui, owner of Lian Mei Printing Factory, said. The Chinese government is enforcing strict safety measures as employees return to work. Temperature checks have become standard procedure before entering buildings. People must wear a face mask while in the office, wash their hands and use disinfectant according to an announcement from the Dongguan Bureau of Foreign Affairs. “We need to check temperatures every two hours for all workers. There cannot be more than three people in one room. At the entrance, we organized a station to change shoes and wash and sterilize hands. We are sterilizing the factory on Friday. All workers had to fill out a form stating where they went during the Chinese New Year,” Anna Grinvald, CEO of Grinvald Footwear and GTS Group, said. She said her factory opened on Monday but was closed the next day due to a breach of regulations. They are working on complying with the regulations and are scheduled to reopen on February 17. Grinvald supports the precautions the government is taking and said they make sense. Some companies are choosing to continue to work from home. "It is our company’ s decision to work at home this week. I do not know where we will work next week, because the virus situation keeps changing everyday," a representative from Mous, a company based in Dongcheng, said. Chen's factory is working with 15 percent of its employees, adding only the ones who need to be there are. Most employees who live in rural areas are unable to find transportation to get to the factory. “Many of those colleagues just cannot make it back, no transportation, or the villages just do not allow them to leave,” Chen said. Offices are required to be disinfected regularly and employers must provide the necessary equipment. Offices should be cleaned and ventilated three times a day for 20 to 30 minutes at a time according to the Dongguan Bureau of Foreign Affairs. A government official, or a representative from the building who reports to the government, checks offices are complying with the new regulations. If offices do not comply with the regulations, they are asked to cease work immediately.
Dr. Li Wenliang, a 33-year old Ophthalmologist, died from the novel coronavirus on February 7 at the Wuhan Central Hospital in Hubei, where he worked. Dr. Li had risen to light in recent weeks when he tried to warn, and spread awareness, on social media about a reported illness related to SARS in December. He was quickly reprimanded by the Wuhan police for “spreading rumors” and was dubbed a “rumormonger.” Dr. Li was forced to sign a statement taking back his claims, along with seven others. Since then the Supreme People’s Court said the claims were not entirely false and they (the eight individuals) “should not have been punished.” "It might have been a fortunate thing if the public had believed the 'rumors' then and started to wear masks and carry out sanitization measures, and avoid the wild animal market," China’s top court social media account said on February 4. He was considered a hero for releasing information about the epidemic during the early stages by Zeng Guang, China Center for Disease Control’s chief scientist. Dr. Li started showing signs of the virus on January 8 after coming into contact with a patient who tested positive for the novel coronavirus. He was hospitalized on January 12. Dr. Li posted videos and messages on his social media accounts during his quarantine, with the intention of returning to work after he recovered. He went into critical condition on February 6 before dying early February 7. His death sparked outrage on social media with questions on what would have happened if the public was made aware of the virus sooner and demands for freedom of speech.
As mass fear sets in around the world, events and social activities are severely limited to prevent spreading the novel coronavirus. Those who did not escape China for Chinese New Year are more than likely going out of their minds due to a lack of social stimulation. Do not look at this as a disadvantage but as an opportunity to focus on YOU. Here is a list of things to do while waiting out the outbreak. Start vlogging. You are in China; the internet will believe anything you say. Work on your fitness. A healthy body is needed during this time of year. Since being stuck at home is like being in prison, you might as well have the body to go with it. Read a book. A healthy body should be one with a healthy mind. Now is the chance to crack open a book on your growing reading list. Study the latest outbreak film. Purely for educational purposes, watch the latest (or a classic) outbreak film and take notes on the do's and do not's that occur. Have a staycation. Do not be afraid to don your protective mask and go out into the world and relax at a luxury hotel. Rates are low at this time, but be aware that some of the facilities (pool and gym) might not be open. Go for a walk. Sounds boring at first and you will have to whip out your protective breathing apparatus to brave the streets, but the parks are still open and emptier than usual. This is an opportunity to practice your zombie walk. Study Chinese. You have been saying you want to learn for years. Now is the chance. If you do not learn now, you never will... Make a DIY mask. We have seen thrifty people use items from bras to orange peels. Discover how many items in your home can double as a mask and let us know... hmm... "let us," "lettuce?" Make a list of countries you can not go to right now. On a serious note, there are some countries that are limiting entry to people coming from China at this moment. Why not be prepared and make a list. Have a Corona party. No, not like a chicken pox party. Invite the few friends you have left in town over for a Corona (beer) and lime party and do numbers 1 to 9 on the list.