Beijing in a confusing mess

Total confusion on the quarantine rules

We can only say: Beijing in a confusing mess over the fight against Covid-19 and the moribund economy is not recovering.
As I reported earlier: Mandatory 14 days quarantine

Adding to the confusion, I was told on 20 February: If you arrive from Germany using an international flight to Beijing and you have not been in China during the 14 days prior to your arrival, then you are not subject to the quarantine rules.

While some embassies like Germany have announced the exemption, there is yet no clear official document from the Chinese side, at the time of posting this.

As a result, confusion. Beijing seems to stick to the quarantine, some compounds follow the Ministry of Foreign Affairs instructions, others follow the old Beijing rule.

The following article explains it:
“To Quarantine or Not To Quarantine: Confusion Reigns for Foreigners Returning from Overseas” by Joey Knotts,  The Beijinger on 20 February 2020
Since the announcement of a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine upon returning to Beijing, one question has been pouring through every English-language WeChat group: does this policy apply to foreigners who come into China from overseas?

As can happen, the answer has eluded onlookers due to the vague language of policy announcements that make no mention of either foreign passports or travel origins.
While common sense would dictate that someone returning from a country with next to zero infection rates would have a near-zero chance of having contacted the coronavirus, there is the chance of picking up the virus while in transit.
Up until yesterday, these announcements, when read literally, implied that all returning individuals must self-quarantine, regardless of where they are returning from or what passport they hold. It continues to be the case that if you’re coming from another part of China, you are expected to observe the 14-day quarantine.
However, starting Wednesday, several Beijing expats have reported receiving notice from their embassies that Beijing’s Foreign Affairs Office has exempted some foreigners from the quarantine requirement.
They said: foreign passport holders returning after two weeks overseas and who land in either Beijing Capital International Airport or Daxing International Airport are not required to quarantine themselves, strictly speaking.
(read the rest of the article online)

See also again what EUCCC posted today, repeating that “these exemptions have not yet been published, but are expected to be shortly.”

My support for the fight against the virus

I joined some other expats in making wishes and support for the fight against the coronavirus:
Click the first video where I am part of the expat group.


Some information that confirms what I wrote earlier: the impact on the economy will be severe. There is little room for optimism for the next coming months.
Also, Beijing government dismisses a rumor that schools in Beijing will reopen in early March.
Some headlines follow.

General comment from NYT, pretty accurate:
Is China strangling its own economy?
As China tightens the reins on the movements of people and goods to stem the coronavirus’s spread, some business leaders are taking the rare stand against Beijing to get their workers going again.
One-third of small firms in the country are on the brink of running out of cash over the next four weeks, according to a survey. Another third will run out of cash in the next two months. And one analysis found that virus containment efforts were stopping the flow of commerce.
Resolving economic woes and keeping the virus at bay will be a delicate dance. Manufacturers do not have the luxury of working from home, like tech companies do, but returning to business as usual could put employees at risk.
At Amazon, which relies heavily on Chinese manufacturing, the effects could be seen sooner than at other corporations because the retail giant often keeps fewer items on hand. It’s already worrying about its inventory.

From FT
China is attempting to restart an economy that has been effectively shuttered over the last three weeks without exacerbating the coronavirus outbreak.
Factories across much of the country are shut down or running at a fraction of capacity. One-third of China’s small firms, meanwhile, are in danger of running out of cash, per the NYT.
The economic implications are global. A fall in Chinese demand has hit oil prices. It has also exposed the dependence of many Africa economies on trade with China, the FT notes.

Airlines in trouble
Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region stand to lose $27.8 billion of revenue this year as they slash flights due to declining demand as a result of the coronavirus, according to a preliminary estimate from an industry body, reported Reuters.
The bulk of the losses will be borne by Chinese carriers, including a US$12.8 billion hit to the Chinese domestic market alone, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a forecast released in New York on Thursday.
Chinese airlines have cut 80% of their planned capacity to, from and within China this week, according to flight data firm OAG, as they grapple with a sharp fall in demand due to the virus that has killed more than 2,100 people in China.
(Source: China Economic Review)

China nears takeover of HNA Group as virus hits business
China plans to take over indebted conglomerate HNA Group Co. and sell off its airline assets, the most dramatic step to date by the state to contain the deepening economic damage from the deadly coronavirus outbreak, reported Bloomberg.
The government of Hainan, the southern island province where HNA is based, is in talks to seize control of the group after the contagion hurt its ability to meet financial obligations, according to Bloomberg sources.
As President Xi Jinping seeks to prevent the short-term economic pain caused by the coronavirus from turning into a slump that outlasts the contagion, his government is considering direct cash infusions or mergers to stabilize the hobbled airline industry, while the People’s Bank of China said it will work on supporting domestic consumption. A takeover of a high-profile company like HNA would take those efforts to a new level.
Under the emerging plan, China would sell the bulk of HNA’s airline assets to the country’s three biggest carriers — Air China Ltd., China Southern Airlines Co. and China Eastern Airlines Corp. A bit sad for me as HNA had become my favorite airline.

From the European Chamber:
Letter to Members from President Wuttke:
Like all of you, the European Chamber has encountered significant challenges due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, now officially named COVID-19. I am proud to say we are successfully navigating these choppy waters, keeping our operations going and continuing to serve our members as our top priority.
We have been providing you with the most up-to-date information and policies related to the novel coronavirus through our newly developed ‘Focus on the COVID-19’ online platform, to help reduce the potential risks and challenges of operating and living in China during these challenging times.

Going to Russia?
Whereas China was saying the US was creating panic with its restrictions on entry for Chinese travelers, Beijing took a soft line in response to Russia announcing a blanket ban on all Chinese citizens entering the country, citing the “worsening of the epidemic in China”.
Russia had informed China in advance and the measures, to take effect on 20 February. “will be adjusted and even withdrawn” when the situation allows.
Russia’s entry ban for Chinese nationals will be partial and only affect those who travel with tourist, private, student and work visas, the country’s Foreign Ministry said later on, clarifying the conditions of a sweeping entry ban for Chinese citizens announced the day before.
Visitors with official, business, humanitarian and transit visas will still be allowed into the country, the Ministry said.

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