160 million Chinese commuters return to work as Wuhan virus outbreak wears on

Chinese officials to impose stricter screening of passengers on public transportation

Public transportation systems are potential transmission clusters. 

Public transportation systems are potential transmission clusters.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — While the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continues to stoke anxiety throughout China, the country's State Council said Tuesday (Feb. 11) that approximately 160 million Chinese are expected to return to work in the upcoming week and that it is trying to minimize the chance of transmission clusters.

The Chinese State Council said that only a small fraction of companies and factories resumed operations on Monday (Feb. 10) as the coronavirus epidemic starts to greatly impact the Chinese economy. However, most workers have decided to remain home, with many having been advised by their employers to stay away from their workplace.

Xu Yahua (徐亞華), director of the transportation services department of the Chinese Ministry of Transport, said that much of country's public transportation has been suspended due to the Wuhan coronavirus but that it will return to normal operations very soon. He said that stricter precautions will soon be implemented to limit the spread of the virus.

Xu pointed out that all trains and buses are to be sanitized and that each passenger's temperature will be taken. He said that individuals displaying symptoms of 2019-nCoV will be immediately transported to local medical units and that passengers will not be allowed to sit next to each other, reported Liberty Times.

According to figures published by the Associated Press, the Wuhan coronavirus has infected more than 43,000 people globally, including 42,638 in China. As the Chinese government prepares for the inevitable economic blow, at least for the first quarter of this year, it is struggling to find steady footing in its battle against the outbreak.