Coronavirus Update: Many Chinese Companies to Stay Closed at Least until February 17

About 10 days ago, I wrote a post about the impact of the coronavirus on manufacturing and shipping from China. At the time, we knew the Chinese New Year “holiday” was extended until February 10 in order for the authorities to contain the outbreak. That meant manufacturing would be impacted, and not much will ship from China during that time period. At the time, we were also told packages shipped from China were safe as it took several days and the virus would just die off on the way.

Coronavirus factory closed china

But there have been some updates since then. First, a new study shows the coronavirus may stay alive on surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days at room temperature. So I’m not sure what that means for packages sent via courier services like FedEx or DHL. The previous link offers some solutions:

… but can be efficiently inactivated by surface disinfection procedures with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite within 1 minute. Other biocidal agents such as 0.05-0.2% benzalkonium chloride or 0.02% chlorhexidine digluconate are less effective.

I’m not sure what the best solution, but maybe that’s something you’ll like to know.

The second change is that while I expected everybody to go back to work today, the government has asked businesses to stay closed for one more week. Here’s an email from Khadas:

As the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continues to spread, Shenzhen and the adjacent cities within Guangdong province remain under health quarantine for the time being. Here are the latest updates for Khadas:

  1. Our office may re-open on 17th Feb, however this depends on the Shenzhen government.
  2. Order fulfilment is delayed. If you can’t wait, please contact our sales to cancel.
  3. We are really sorry for the inconvenience, and we hope to be back soon!

Separately, Teo Swee Ann, Espressif Systems CEO, posted a detailed update on medium saying they’ll only re-open their Shanghai office on February 17. Some of the highlights include:

  1. Many employees can still work from home. 40% of the staff have a company laptop, but they plan to have all employees been able to work from home would the situation deteriorate.
  2. They repatriated expats to their home country on January 27, who then self-quarantined for 10 days
  3. Chip manufacturing is unaffected because the foundry is located in Taiwan
  4. Module manufacturers in China are expected to start working on February 10 (not sure if that’s still true). He also noted partners use automated processes that require very little physical workforce, so it may explain why they have may restarted product as soon as today.

He goes into the reasoning behind all decisions, provides useful information about safety risk, how to mitigate, and how bad it would be if it goes out of control.

On a separate note, I also contacted a person based in the North of China earlier today. They haven’t worked since the 24th of January. They will get their full salary, but some others in the same industry will only get 70% of the salary, while others on contract have just been asked to go home. They live in an apartment, and when they get out they are checked for fever and asked if they feel sick. People who have a cold are sent to the hospital. They are also asked where they go and for how long. Sadly, people are also afraid to go to the hospital even for unrelated symptoms because they may contract the coronavirus at the hospital. Nobody believes the official government numbers, most people think they are underreported and believe there are tenths of thousands of death due to the coronavirus. Hopefully, this will get better very soon, although I’ve heard the peak is new cases may only come in March or April in China. Safety first, but this will certainly have a serious economic impact on China and the rest of the world for the next few quarters.

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Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)dgpRogerwillyDuke NUCem Recent comment authors
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Duke NUCem
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Duke NUCem

All of the sellers chat from home. Some say that hey haven’t been outside for more than 10 days. All say “we open 17th of Jan”, but I don’t think so. They don’t talk much, I think they’re afraid to share info. All this reminds me The Stand, quite scary….

radek
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radek

All of the sellers…. is not truth.. some big companies are reply and some sometimes with big delay… There is a chaos to get information about situation…

Duke NUCem
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Duke NUCem

All, I repeat, ALL of my sellers are at home. My QQ contacts list is quite long…

Roger Melly
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Roger Melly

“At the time, we were also told packages”

Who told you this? Was it a reputable scientific source with knowledge of the nature of the corona virus?

“what that means for packages sent via courier services like FedEx or DHL.”

It means that if there was “live” virus on the package, then a drone worker at FedEx or DHL would have been infected who would then have spread the virus to fellow workers and possibly, if handling objects at the recipient’s home location, spreading the virus on to surfaces from which the recipient could then be infected.

The general populace gets anxious about these new forms of virus when the news media goes into overdrive. Yes they are nasty and over 1000 have now died in The Peoples’ Republic of China so far.

In comparison, in the United States of America alone, the CDC reports estimates from October 1, 2019, through February 1, 2020 the “old fashioned” non-trendy, general populace shrugs it off as boring , influenza has resulted in

(i) 22 million – 31 million illnesses
(ii) 10 million – 15 million medical visits
(iii) 210 thousand – 370 thousand hospitalizations
(iv) 12 thousand – 30 thousand DEATHS

So where is the concern for this continuing established killer virus and remorse for the at least 12 thousand victims (in the USA alone) and many more across the world and the resulting economic loss? And another factoid to put on — the influenza epidemic of 1919 — more people died as a result of the consequences of pneumonia as a secondary infection after being weakened by influenza than directly by influenza its-self. (See also paper at NCBI US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health — “Influenza as a proportion of pneumonia mortality: United States, 1959–2009” — for more on this phenomenon).

Roger
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Roger

“So where is the concern for this continuing established killer virus and remorse for the at least 12 thousand victims (in the USA alone) and many more across the world and the resulting economic loss? And another factoid to put on — the influenza epidemic of 1919 — more people died as a result of the consequences of pneumonia as a secondary infection after being weakened by influenza than directly by influenza its-self. ”

I don’t know what the USA does, but other western countries have a major focus on containing recurring influenza(flu) virus. In the UK the main line of defence is a free yearly vaccination for 65+, those at clinical risk, pregnant women, health care workers with a genericized vaccine as part of the set given to every child. The result is as low as possible mortality rates, with many deaths being because of other issues that the person can not combat due to the weakening of their health.

Corona virus, on the other hand, has no vaccine at this time and reports are indicating that people can be re-infected. Even with the reported 2% mortality rate, the possible re-infection risk means that health systems in even the most advanced countries could become overloaded very quickly with the health care workers being at very high risk from the virus and it affects. Once doctors and nurses become infected, health services can no longer function for any medical condition and that is before the loss of such people is taken into account.

All in all, we may not be seeing new gadgets from China for a very long time and the global manufacturing supply chains are going to become complicated very quickly.

willy
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willy

The worst problem with this is that it mixes the perfect conditions to fuel rumors and fake news: it affects a country which is not exactly known for its transparency about internal problems, and who’s fighting for the world’s first place with a country where fake news are a part of the normal communication strategy and are even spread by the president himself. So where ever you’ll place your cursor of trust/doubt on any incoming info, you’ll find opposite versions, ranging from “everyone’s now safe, don’t worry” to “the whole country is contaminated and they can’t stop the spreadth anymore”. Scientists really working on the subjects are probably the ones the least heard in all this noise, as usual.

I’d suggest just to base your actions on common sense. In most countries we have far more risks of getting a flu from a coworker who never washes his hands than getting ncov. At least I’ll profit from people’s stupidity and this evening I’ll have dinner in a Chinese restaurant, it’s said that they have very few customers these days, it’s the right moment to eat good food there (and one very small way to help them keep their business running).

dgp
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dgp

>fake news are a part of the normal communication strategy and are even spread by the president himself.

And then some of the reports of the president spreading fake news are fake news in and of themselves. Which is even more interesting when you mix in the outsider looking in aspect with the outsider in Europe or wherever believing their local situation actually better when in a lot of cases it’s even worse. TL;DR; twitter etc combined with clicks for bucks business models == widespread rabid tribalism verging on collective mental illness.