13 March 2020
Beijing: Over 95 per cent of large companies in China located outside Hubei province, whose capital Wuhan is the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, and 60 per cent of small to medium-sized businesses have resumed activities, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Friday.
"China is trying to return to work after having imposed strict restrictions on the transportation and mobility of people to curb the spread of the virus," Vice Minister of Industry Xin Guobin told the media here.
Speaking at the State Council briefing, the Minister said the measures China had been forced to implement were unusual but had meant the country had been able to "contain the epidemic", reports Efe news.
"Returning to work, resuming production and business activity is essential and is being done in a coordinated manner," he added.
As of Friday "outside Hubei, the average rate of resuming business is 95 per cent for large companies and 60 per cent for small and medium-sized companies", Xin said.
Although he described this as "positive," he acknowledged that Chinese companies still faced "shortage of funds, personnel and supplies."
"Overall, the efficiency of operating the industrial chain is low," Xin continued.
"The spread of the virus around the world is creating many uncertainties for the resumption of work in China.
Xin said China would push to stimulate business resumption internationally despite the fact the pandemic has spread uncertainty to global markets.
"We will do everything possible to minimize the impact of the epidemic and ensure that industrial performance is in the right range," the deputy minister said.
Despite the positive data revealed Friday, economic activity in China is far from normal.
Much of the population continues to work from home and many offices and commerces remain closed.
On Thursday, health authorities said the peak of contagion had been reached with infections dropping to eight on Friday, down from 15 the previous day, according to China's National Health Commission.
Hubei province recorded five cases of the eight new infections, all of them in the capital Wuhan, which has been under strict quarantine since January.
The other three infections were "imported" cases.
As of Friday, the overall number of coronavirus cases in China increased to 80,813 with 3,176 deaths.
Globally, there were 131,851 cases and 4,948 fatalities. Italy registered the largest number of cases and deaths outside China at 15,113 and 1,016.