Hubei province officials have given automotive manufacturers the green light to resume operations in Wuhan, the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak. The go-ahead signal was given to all assembly plants and auto part suppliers in the city.
Wuhan, which is considered to be the Detroit motor city of China, is home to the factories of dozens of automotive and components companies. Companies based in the city are vital to the country's automotive industry and the global auto supply chain.
The country's major automotive production base is home to various local joint venture companies that produce global brands such as Honda, Peugeot, Chevrolet, Renault, and Buick. The city is also home to several auto parts manufacturing facilities that supply components to assembly plants worldwide.
Hubei deputy government, Cao Guangjing, mentioned during a press the conference that automotive companies and other firms closely related to the people's livelihood will be allowed to resume operations immediately to mitigate the effects of the months-long lockdowns that have damaged the economy.
The official highlighted the city's status as China's major producer of not only automotive components and vehicles but also vital products such as phosphate fertilizers. He added that further delays in the work resumption will have a major impact on the country's economy as these companies are vital to various industry supply chains.
The provincial government released an extensive list of companies that can immediately resume operations. It also released a "negative list" that contained names of companies prohibited from resuming operations. This included companies that operate book stores, bars, cinemas, gyms, restaurants, and other establishments that promoted mass gatherings. These established are still being considered by health officials as promoting a high risk of infections.
According to officials, it will be starting to relax restrictions in other parts of Hubei, starting with the low-risk areas. Companies in those areas will be allowed to resume operations except for those on the negative list. Nationally and locally important facilities will be allowed to immediately resume business.
Since last week, the province of Hubei reported just one new confirmed case of coronavirus. Since Tuesday last week, the province has not reported any new suspected cases. New cases in China have gradually decreased over the past weeks, mainly thanks to the strict lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed by the government since the initial spread.
Despite getting the green light to restart operations, companies have expressed several concerns in resuming their businesses. These challenges include complicated paperwork in getting their migrant workers back to the city, shortage of funds, and ongoing traffic and transportation restrictions.