Coronavirus: Beijing closes borders. Industrial profits plummet

From midnight today, entry for foreign nationals prohibited. However, 90% of the imported cases concern Chinese citizens. Air routes to and from the country have also been reduced. Chinese civil aviation lost € 2.7 billion in February. The profits of the big industry fall by 38.3% in the first two months of 2020. Danger of new infections in companies that reopen.


Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Since midnight today, China has closed its borders to most foreign nationals. Beijing aims to reduce the risk of contagion from abroad, while the number of autochthonous transmission cases has been almost zeroed, at least according to official statistics.

In the last 24 hours, 55 new infections have been recorded: all imported from other countries, except one. However, CCTV calculated that 90% of the "return infections" concern Chinese citizens, especially students who are returning home. Currently there are 81340 infected in the country; 3292 deaths.

The halt on the entry of foreign nationals will be temporary. It also applies to foreigners who have a valid entry and residency visa for China. There are some exceptions. Foreign nationals who pass through Hong Kong and Macao, and are provided with a short-term entry permit, can enter Chinese territory.

As a further preventive measure, the Chinese civil aviation control agency (CAAC) has imposed restrictions on the number of flights to and from China. From March 29, Chinese airlines will only be able to operate one weekly route per country; similarly, foreign carriers will only be able to make one weekly trip to China.

According to the CAAC, the Chinese aviation sector lost nearly 21 billion yuan (2.7 billion euros) in February. The restrictions on airport activity has reduced passenger traffic by 84% and freight by 21%, compared to the same period of 2019.

The impact of the draconian measures adopted by the government to contain the virus are beginning to be felt. According to the National Statistical Office, the profits of large industry in China fell by 38.3% in the first two months of 2020, stopping at around 411 billion yuan (52.6 billion euros).

The country is trying to get going again. For example, 85% of companies in Hubei, the epicenter of the epidemic crisis, have resumed production. However, the resumption of economic activities carries risks. According to the China Labor Bulletin, there are several cases of new infections in companies that have reopened. Among the most affected, there are workers who make home deliveries.

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