China’s Exposure to COVID -19 What’s next?

China’s Exposure to COVID -19 What’s next?


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China As a Country:

On February 25, 2020, the National Health Commission published the Notice on Scientifically and Accurately Conducting a Good Job in the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 Epidemic. (http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2020-02/25/content_5483024.htm) The Notice provides a series of technical specifications on the prevention and control of COVID-19 epidemic, including the Technical Specification on the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 Epidemic in Offices and Public Places under Annex 5 and the Technical Specification on the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 Epidemic in Industrial and Construction Companies under Annex 6. Companies shall follow the instructions under the Technical Specifications to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as conducting a temperature check-up for each employee every day and ensuring the ventilation in the workplaces. If there is any suspected patient in the workplace, the company shall take corresponding prevention and control measures and report to the local disease control department immediately. These requirements are reemphasized under the technical guidelines on furthering the prevention and control of COVID-19 for key places, key units, and key populations published on April 9, 2020 (http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/zhengcwj/202004/b90add4a70d042308b8c3d4276ec76a7.shtml).

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in offices through the air conditioner and ventilation systems, companies shall comply with the cleaning and disinfection requirements under the Guidelines for the Operation and Management of Air-conditioning and Ventilation Systems in Offices and Public Places during COVID-19 Epidemic (http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2020-02/13/content_5478015.htm)

In most parts of China, companies have resumed the business operation from the end of February. To better support the resumption of work and production, the National Development and Reform Commission issued a series of policies, including reducing electricity costs of enterprises (https://www.ndrc.gov.cn/xwdt/xwfb/202002/t20200222_1220994.html) and multiple supporting measures for foreign invested companies (https://www.ndrc.gov.cn/xxgk/zcfb/tz/202003/t20200311_1222902.html).

On March 17, 2020, the State Council published the Guideline for the Public to Wear Masks Correctly (http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/zhengcwj/202003/0a472cc09e744144883db6a74fe6e760.shtml). Employers should ensure the employees in offices, meeting rooms, factories etc. wear masks correctly in accordance with the Guideline.

On March 20, 2020, the State Council published an Implementation Opinion to Promote the Employment Responding to the Impacts of COVID-19 Epidemic (http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2020-03/20/content_5493574.htm), including promoting vocational training.

On March 26, 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Immigration Administration announced that the entry into China by foreign nationals holding valid visas or residence permits will be temporarily suspended starting March 28, 2020. (https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/wjbxw_673019/t1761858.shtml) Companies may reconsider the travel plan for employees. If necessary, the foreign employee may apply for a visa at Chinese embassies or consulates because of necessary economic and trade activities. Visas issued after the publication of the announcement will not be affected.

On March 27, 2020, the Maritime Safety Administration updated the Guidance to provide recommendations for the prevention and control of COVID-19 in ships and to provide personal protection for crews (http://xxgk.mot.gov.cn/jigou/haishi/202003/P020200329422788999003.pdf). In addition, in order to further promote the resumption of work and production at ports and on ships after the COVID-19 epidemic, from March 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, the port construction fee shall be exempted and the ship oil pollution compensation fund shall be reduced by half (http://xxgk.mot.gov.cn/jigou/cwsjs/202003/t20200313_3345793.html).

Recently, the State Council published the Notice on strengthening the detection of COVID-19 in 12 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan and others (http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/zhengcwj/202004/9c1b7e72557447f68927423d3012f168.shtml) to avoid imported cases and the COVID-19 Management Rules for Asymptomatic Patients (http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/zhengcwj/202004/9d3edaaebb9a4c369f42c61039be35fe.shtml) to prevent people from being infected by asymptomatic patients.

On April 27, 2020, the State Council issued a Notice on the special inspection work on the implementation of the prevention and control measures for the resumption of production. (http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/zhengcwj/202004/119a73b832354f1babfc70efae335e4f.shtml) Enterprises in specific industries or with more than 20 workers will be subject to the inspection from local governments.

On May 8, 2020, the Guiding Opinion on the Normalization of COVID-19 Prevention and Control was published to emphasize the precautionary measures and the prevention and control of COVID-19 for key places, key units, and key populations. (http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2020-05/08/content_5509896.htm)

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:

– National Health Commission (http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/xxgzbd/gzbd_index.shtml)

– the State Council (http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/zuixin.htm)

– COVID info (http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/nw2/nw2314/nw32419/nw48516/nw48545/u26aw64640.html)

– Relevant laws and regulations (https://book.yunzhan365.com/sarx/ywen/mobile/index.html)

 

 

Shanghai

On February 11, 2020, Shanghai People’s Government published the Notice on Further Strict Implementation of Various Epidemic Prevention and Control Measures (http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/nw2/nw2314/nw32419/nw48516/nw48545/u26aw63661.html). Under the Notice, 14-day quarantine is strictly implemented for those returning to Shanghai from COVID-19 epidemic key areas. The enterprise shall take the primary responsibility for the prevention and control of COVID-19 outbreak in the resumption of production and work. For the labor-intensive enterprises with employees or workers returning back to Shanghai, more stringent management measures shall be taken. If the enterprise can provide places for the quarantine, the employees shall be quarantined in the provided places. If the enterprise is unable to provide places for the quarantine and the employees have no residence place in Shanghai, they shall be quarantined in a centralized point provided by the district. The enterprise or the individual shall bear certain expenses. In addition, enterprises with collective dormitories shall earnestly perform their main responsibility for the strict prevention and control of COVID-19 outbreak.

To reduce the burden on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) caused by the COVID-19 epidemic and to promote the resumption of work, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization published a Notice regarding the Measures on Responding to the Impact of the Epidemic and Further Promote the Stable and Healthy Development of SMEs. (http://shanghai.gov.cn/nw2/nw2314/nw2319/nw12344/u26aw64424.html) In addition, Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau and Shanghai Municipal Financial Bureau specify that if the large enterprises with independent training capabilities or the SMEs without training capabilities conducted online or vocational training for employees during shutdown period (including overall and partial shutdowns) caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, online or vocational employee training qualify for a subsidy from the government. (http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/nw2/nw2314/nw32419/nw48614/nw48615/u21aw1424020.html)

In the Government Press Conference held on March 22, 2020, the spokesman emphasizes that Shanghai Customs implements comprehensive centralized control and closed management of all personnel entering from airports, ports, and seaports. The personnel from 24 key countries are subject to 100% landing quarantine, 100% temperature monitoring, and 100% health declaration. (http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/nw2/nw2314/nw32419/nw48516/nw48546/u21aw1434222.html)

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:

– Shanghai People’s Government (http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/nw2/nw2314/nw32419/nw48516/index.html)

 

 

Wuhan

On January 29, 2020, Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issued the Interim Measures for Prevention and Control of COVID-19 in Wuhan (http://wjw.wuhan.gov.cn/front/web/showDetail/2020020209339). The enterprise shall not conceal, postpone, or misrepresent the COVID-19 epidemic situation, or instruct others to conceal, postpone, or misreport the facts. In the Decision to Win the Defense Battle of Wuhan against COVID-19 Epidemic (http://wjw.wuhan.gov.cn/front/web/showDetail/2020021909676), enterprises must take the responsibility for the prevention and control work of COVID-19, report any suspected cases in a timely manner, and take corresponding measures.

On February 22, 2020, Wuhan Municipal People’s Government published a Notice regarding the Measures on Responding to the Impact of the Epidemic and Supporting the Operation and Development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). (http://www.wuhan.gov.cn/hbgovinfo/zwgk_8265/szfxxgkml/fggw/bgtwj/202002/t20200222_305392.html) Among others, for the SMEs that rent state-owned assets for business use, rent is waived for three months and halved from the fourth to sixth months. From January 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, the prices of industrial water and natural gas were reduced by 10%. The supply of electricity, water, and gas to SMEs for production and operation won’t be stopped even if the SMEs owe the fees. The vocational training for employees during the shutdown period and recovery period qualifies for a subsidy from the government.

The employers shall ensure that all employees wear masks in the workplace in accordance with the Notice to Implement Measures on Wearing Masks in Public Places (http://www.wuhan.gov.cn/hbgovinfo/zwgk_8265/szfxxgkml/fggw/gfxwj/202001/t20200123_304117.html)

In the Conference to Promote the Resumption of Work and Production held on March 22, 2020, the mayor emphasizes that several prevention and control mechanisms shall be put in place. The employer shall ensure the personal protection of employees and the disinfection of the working environment. The employer shall also investigate and eliminate the hidden hazards in the workplace. (http://www.wuhan.gov.cn/2019_web/whyw/202003/t20200323_307281.html)

On March 25, 2020, Wuhan Municipal People’s Government published a Notice on Several Measures to Promote Stable Development and Resumption of Work and Production in Wuhan. (http://www.wh.gov.cn/hbgovinfo/zwgk_8265/tzgg/202003/t20200326_307580.html) The Notice specifies 21 supportive measures for enterprises, including a zero-interest loan to small and medium-sized enterprises for a year, value-added tax exemption, and reduction on water and gas prices.

Starting from April 8, 2020, all traffic control checkpoints of Wuhan will be removed. The operation of railways, civil aviation, water transportation, highways, and buses will be restored in an orderly manner (http://www.hubei.gov.cn/zhuanti/2020/gzxxgzbd/zxtb/202004/t20200407_2207131.shtml).

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:

– Wuhan Municipal People’s Government (http://www.wuhan.gov.cn/)

– Wuhan Municipal Health Commission (http://wjw.wuhan.gov.cn/front/web/ztzl/801)

– Relevant laws and regulations (https://book.yunzhan365.com/sarx/ywen/mobile/index.html)

 

 

Beijing

On March 16, 2020, Beijing People’s Government issued a Notice on Several Measures to Conduct a Good Job in Epidemic Prevention and Control and to Guarantee the Orderly Resumption of Work and Production. (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/zhengce/zhengcefagui/202003/t20200315_1706857.html). Employers should allow employees to work from home. A list of telecommunication products are provided without charges. In the meantime, Beijing Market Supervision Administration also published a Notice to support resumption of work and production. (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/zhengce/zhengcefagui/202003/t20200323_1726886.html) Among others, the validation date of production and operation license, as well as the validation date of measurement, certification and special equipment certificate which expires during the COVID-19 epidemic period will be extended to/from one month to six months after the outbreak is solved. Enterprises and social organizations are encouraged to formulate guidance or standards relating to epidemic prevention and control or resumption of work and production. To support the small, medium and micro enterprises in response to the epidemic, among others, the rent for March and April for specified enterprises shall be reduced or suspended. (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/zhengce/gfxwj/202004/t20200417_1814532.html)

 

On April 18, 2020, the Notice on the normalization of COVID-19 prevention and control in the resumption of work and production (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/zhengce/gfxwj/202004/t20200418_1846059.html) was published. If the enterprise ensure the employees to have a working distance of not less than 1 meter per person and an area of ​​not less than 2.5 square meters, it can arrange the employees to return to work normally.

In addition, the local departments will strengthen the inspections on the implementation of epidemic prevention and control measures taken by the industrial enterprises during the COVID-19 epidemic period. (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/zhengce/gfxwj/202003/t20200306_1681633.html) (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/zhengce/gfxwj/202003/t20200306_1681627.html)

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:

– Beijing People’s Government (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/ywdt/zwzt/yqfk/)

– Relevant laws and regulations (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/so/zcdh/fcfg)

 

 

 

Hubei

The work and production in Hubei Province have resumed gradually from March 11, 2020. The Hubei People’s Government published a Notice on Several Policies and Measures to Promote Economic and Social Development in Hubei Provinces. (http://www.hubei.gov.cn/zfwj/ezf/202003/t20200312_2180269.shtml) The Notice provides multiple financial supports to small and medium enterprises.

On March 27, 2020, the Hubei People’s Government published Several Measures to Stablize Employment In Response to the COVID-19 Epidemic (http://www.hubei.gov.cn/zfwj/ezbf/202003/t20200327_2195351.shtml).

Recently, the Department of Water Resources of Hubei Province issued a document (http://www.hubei.gov.cn/zhuanti/2020/xgfyyqfkzszq/hygq/202003/t20200320_2186146.shtml) to further support the resumption of work. Under the document, the construction unit of major production and construction projects may resume the projects by making a commitment to implement soil and water protection measures appropriately to the local water resources department through internet or mail, as long as the construction unit completes the approval procedures for the soil and water protection measures within six months after the COVID-19 epidemic.

Starting from March 25, 2020, the travel restrictions for all cities and counties in Hubei Province, except for Wuhan, will be lifted. People will be allowed to leave the province if they have a green QR code (the indicator of people’s health status) on their mobile phones (http://www.cnhubei.com/content/2020-03/24/content_12889380.html).

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:

– Hubei People’s Government (http://www.hubei.gov.cn/zhuanti/2020/xgfyyqfkzszq/)

– Relevant laws and regulations (https://book.yunzhan365.com/sarx/ywen/mobile/index.html)

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