Xi Jinping Tries to Revive China’s Industry Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Chinese President Xi Jinping is calling for the restoration of production in some parts of China in an apparent attempt to revive the industry as the authorities continue the efforts to stop the outbreak of the coronavirus.
In a video conference with select Communist Party officials on Sunday, Xi expressed concern that the situation surrounding the outbreak is still “grim and complex” and called for more preventative measures against the spread of coronavirus. “Prevention and control are at the most critical stage,” the president said, as quoted by Xinhua News Agency.
Xi further warned that the epidemic will “inevitably have a relatively big impact on the economy and society,” but he assured that it would be short-term and controllable.
Much of China’s industries have been shut down since the outbreak of the virus in late January, but the authorities are now rolling out a set of policies to revive the economy.
The Chinese president called on officials in “low-risk areas” to adjust its measures to curb the disease in order to “fully restore production.” Entrepeneurs and farmers were reportedly promised tax breaks, subsidies and other forms of aid to encourage them to resume their operations.
Xi also hinted at the possible use of monetary policy and more cuts in fees to support job growth, but no specific initiatives were mentioned.
“We must promptly solve the outstanding problems that affect spring plowing and organize production, circulation and supply of materials to ensure production does not miss the farming time,” the president was quoted as saying.
Xi ordered high-risk provinces to focus on controlling the epidemic and advised provinces with medium-risk level to pursue orderly work resumption.
The video conference was attended by officials from the province of Hubei, where the city of Wuhan lies, as well as officials of the Cabinet and members of the group that was created to contain the disease.
During the meeting, the president reportedly praised party officials for their “timely and effective” response against the outbreak.
Members of the public have reportedly criticized officials for the delayed response against the epidemic, but Xi contended that “all work arrangements are timely” and preventative measure have been effective.
Since the outbreak, the authorities have blocked most access to city of Wuhan – the center of the epidemic – and imposed more travel restrictions across the country. Many factories, restaurants, malls and other businesses across China were also shut down, leading to a disruption in the flow of supplies to crucial industries.
In Beijing, authorities have required people arriving from other parts of the country to be quarantined at home for at least two weeks.
“The safety and stability of the capital is directly related to the overall work of the party and the state,” Xi said, emphasizing the significance of fighting the disease in the capital.
The coronavirus has been considered as one of the most serious public health crises in China with almost 77,000 people infected and 2,400 killed. Fears surrounding the epidemic have grown following news of the spread of the disease in South Korea and other countries.
Economists have predicted that China’s economic growth would drop from six percent in the previous quarter to three percent in the first quarter this year. Forecasters believe that manufacturing and operations of other industries will only be fully restored no later than mid-March, but contended that the country’s economy could be revived quickly if the virus is controlled by the end of that same month.