Is China Getting Back to Normal After the COVID-19 Outbreak?

The COVID-19 outbreak has had a profound impact on the entire world, bringing economies to a halt and disrupting almost all aspects of day-to-day life. In the case of one of the worst affected countries – China – the effects of the pandemic have been particularly hard-hitting. As the origin site of the outbreak and having experienced the first wave of the virus, the country is finally starting to get back to normal. In this article, we look at how China is slowly recovering and regaining what was lost due to the outbreak.

A Consumer Return

One of the first signs of China getting back to normal is the return of consumer activity. Streets, restaurants, malls, and other shopping areas were once again bustling with people in mid-April after the government relaxed the lockdown and restrictions. This includes the number of people using the metro and other public transportation methods, which had dropped by over 90% after the pandemic hit China earlier this year.

Businesses and Factories Re-Opening

A major component of the country slowly getting back to normal has also been the resumption of work in many sectors. Businesses and factories in China began to slowly open up in March with an extended Chinese New Year holiday, and have buckled down to work. In March, Chinese factory activity rose 8.5% year-on-year, with new orders increasing 5.3%.

The Tourism Industry

Chinese tourism destinations such as Hong Kong and the famous Forbidden City in Beijing have now been reopened with adjusted policies and stringent safety measures that remain in place. Tours and trips to different places are also slowly beginning to resume, following the same set of health and safety protocols as operations in businesses and factories.

Workplace Restructuring for Social Distancing

Another significant way that China is regaining a sense of normality is by restructuring workplaces and businesses to reflect the current realities of COVID-19. Techniques such as staggering hours of operation and using technology such as virtual meetings, have been used to minimize the number of people in one area at any given time and to help in social distancing.

More Rigorous Sanitization and Checkpoints

Other measures such as more rigorous sanitization and temperature checks at places such as airports and railway stations, have been put into place in order to ensure the safety of the public and stop the spread of the virus. China has also been utilizing key technologies such as facial recognition and drone surveillance to track and enforce coronavirus-related regulations.

Remote Education and Work

The education and workplace in China have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and have had to evolve in order to adapt to the new reality. In order to maintain learning and work, Schools have adopted the popular “blended learning” model which combines online classes with traditional learning and, companies have begun to move most of their operations to digital formats including work-from-home.

Return Flight Routes

The government has since allowed the resumption of some flights from China to other countries, including the US and the UK, with certain restrictions and safety protocols in place, signaling that the country is steadily moving towards normalcy.

What This Means for the Future

China has started to get back to normal, but there is still a long way to go. With the outbreak far from over and other countries yet to learn from China’s experience, the fight against the virus has to be carried on, for the global recovery to start. With the infection rate slowing down, China shows us that, with the requisite safety measures in place, a sense of normalcy can, and will return soon.