Updates on Novel Coronavirus Outbreak - 5 February

Published on 2020-02-05

In this message we collected some of the most up-to-date information in regards to novel coronavirus cases in Shanghai, advice for the public and businesses.


A message from Dame Barbara Woodward, British Ambassador to China - 4 February

As this situation continues to develop, we understand there is considerable concern about the spread of the coronavirus. The UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has made a statement today (4 Feb) to clarify the travel advice for those planning travel to China and for British Nationals currently in China.

The travel advice to China remains unchanged. The FCO advises against all travel to Hubei Province and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China. For British Nationals currently in China, the advice is that if you are able to leave China, you should do so.

Current Public Health England and World Health Organisation guidance is that, outside the epicentres of Wuhan and Hubei, the risk to the general population posed by novel coronavirus is low provided basic health precautions are followed. Nonetheless, some airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, have announced a suspension of flights to and from mainland China. Other commercial airlines are still operating, but it may become harder to access departure options over the coming weeks. In response to the situation, the Chinese government also continues to impose further restrictions on movement within China. These restrictions include the closure of some provincial highways and inter-city high speed rail, tight control on entry and exit to villages and townships across the country, and restrictions on movement within some cities and municipalities including Chongqing.

As ever, the safety and security of British people is our top priority. We continue to work on options for further evacuations from Hubei Province for British Nationals who wish to leave. For any British Nationals in China we have set up an UK Consular Emergency Assistance hotline, which is available around the clock. The number is below. We will continue to provide updates and essential guidance via our @UK Consular WeChat Channel. Please do follow it if you aren’t already. 

24/7 contact numbers:  +86(0)1085296600 or +44(0)2070081500

Please also click here to view the 'Coronavirus: Q&A for British Nationals in China'.  [Source: UK Consular]


Mobile Cabin Hospitals Built to Add More Beds to Treat Novel Coronavirus Infected PatientsOn 4 February, Wuhan made use of its sports stadium and two convention centers, and renovated them into three mobile cabin hospitals to offer more than 4,000 beds to treat novel coronavirus infected patients with mild symptoms.

WeChat Image_20200205220558.gif

[Image Source: CCTV]

Medical staff has been dispatched to these hospitals to take care of patients who test positive for the virus — but show no severe symptoms. Once a patient's symptoms worsen, he or she will be transferred to Jinyintan Hospital, one of the city's designated hospitals to admit patients infected with the new virus, in a timely manner.

Wuhan will build 13 mobile cabin hospitals with in total tens of thousands of beds. 

The second makeshift hospital, Leishenshan Hospital, will be put into use today (5 February) with a capacity of 1,500 beds. [News Source: 新浪财经, ChinaDaily] 

Support and Help

As of 5 February, 17 member companies have kindly made donations to support the fight against coronavirus outbreak. Please click here for more details.  

Further Restrictions

The following cities around Shanghaiare experiencing increasing restrictions:

  • Hanghzou
  • Nanjing
  • Ningbo
  • Wenzhou
  • Jiaxing
  • Yiwu


2019-nCoV Cases Updates

As of 12pm, 5 February, there are in total 243 cases in Shanghai. 211 patients were in stable condition, 8 were in critical condition and 8 were in severe condition, 15 were recovered and discharged, and 1 died. In addition, a total of 591 suspected cases have been ruled out, and 237 suspected cases are still being investigated.  

Please click here for more details about 2019-nCoV cases in China and around the world.   

Shanghai Municipal Commission of Education: No Schools to Open before the End of February

According to the development of the epidemic situation, in order to ensure the safety of students, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Education has decided that schools at all levels and of all types of schools in the city would NOT open before the end of February

At the same time, the Municipal Education Commission, together with the Education Bureaus of all districts, is guiding schools at all levels to prepare carefully and comprehensively for the opening of the school, and accelerating the implementation of online education and teaching activities using information technology to prepare for online education.

In addition, all training institutions and nurseries will suspend offline services before the end of February.  [Source: 上海教育]


Burden Relief Policies for Shanghai Enterprises

The Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau issued a number of measures on 3 Feb 2020 in order to reduce the business burden from the 2019-nCoV, including the follows:

  • Implementation of Unemployment Insurance Return Policy
  • To postpone the adjustment of social security contribution base 
  • Allow extension for social insurance contribution period
  • Implementation of training fee subsidy policy

Click here for more details (Chinese only). [Source: 上海发布]

Jing'an District Offers Relief to Struggling Businesses

Jing’an District has released a set of policies, including reducing rents and increasing credit, to support small businesses affected by the ongoing epidemic.

The holiday extension and the ongoing outbreak have dealt a heavy blow to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Jing’an Finance Bureau is now offering a helping hand to SMEs hit by a loss of business.

The bureau is encouraging state-owned companies in Jing’an which rent their own properties to SMEs to reduce or lower rents for at least one month. Part of the rental losses will be covered by the district government.

The bureau said it will also help improve credit availability for SMEs.

In the Pudong New Area, authorities have also worked with local financial institutions to offer a range of services via an online platform. [Source: Shine.cn]

Districts of Jiading and Yangpu also released policies to reduce burden business es, click here to read more (Chinese only)[Source: 上海发布]

CCPIT: Port Companies Reduce Burden on Businesses

According to China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), in order to protect the rights of businesses, port companies such as Antong Holdings (安通控股), Ningbo Zhoushan Port (宁波舟山港), and Zhuhai Port Group (珠海港集团) have reduced the burden on businesses by introducing measures such as extending the storage-free period and waiving storage yard fee to help businesses overcome the epidemic and difficulties. Click here to read more (Chinese only). [Source: 中国贸促]

Immigration Updates on Coronavirus Related Restrictions

Fragomen recently released a series of immigration updates on coronavirus related restrictions. Please click here to download a summary of current entry restrictions by jurisdiction (as of 5 February 2020; document size: 308k).

To continue getting updated information in English, please visit Fragomen website: https://www.fragomen.com/about/news/immigration-update-coronavirus.

Fragomen also translated some of the immigration updates into Chinese which can be found at their WeChat Account. 

Fragomen wechat 


British Business in China: Coronavirus Pulse Survey

As the voice of British business in China, the British chambers of commerce in China are collecting the views of British businesses on the recent coronavirus outbreak. The information gained from this survey will allow us to better support your organisations' needs in China and help to influence the UK government’s response. All responses to the survey will be confidentially aggregated; nothing written will be attributed to a single organisation or individual. The survey takes only 5 minutes to complete and will allow us to better support your company’s need at this difficult time.  Please click here to fill out the survey. 

Chamber Events to be Postponed

Following the Shanghai government's guidance and in consideration of health and safety of our members, we have decided that Chamber events up until 29 February are to be postponed. We will keep under review the position regarding events after that date.  

If you are currently registered for any of the events affected we will send you a separate email with further updates. Thank you for your understanding.  

In the meantime, we are seeking digital solutions for events in the form of webinars to stay connected with our business community.

Please leave a message/comment to let us know what other information you would like to read more, or if any support you need. 

Related Chamber News:

We hope the above information is useful to help you make the best decision for you, your family and your business. British Chamber Shanghai continues to closely monitor the coronavirus and will keep members updated of important developments.