Beijing companies resume work under stringent epidemic prevention measures

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Beijing companies have resumed work on Feb. 10 amid stringent measures to prevent and control the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak.

The renovation of the Fengtai subway station is one of the major projects key to the city's operation. Work on the project has recently resumed and on Feb. 10, 900 workers returned to the construction site. Body temperature measurements, registration of workers using their real names, strict management of the construction site involving controls on the entry and exit of visitors as well as other measures were taken to prevent any chance of an epidemic at the site.

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Construction issued a notice on Feb. 9, requiring that employers and service enterprises carry out strict remote screening measures. When recruiting workers, they should conduct local health inquiries and temperature checks. In addition, they should also keep their medical records to ensure that their new staff are in good health. At the same time, special or chartered cars should be used to take their workers back to Beijing.

The Zhongguancun Science Park and Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area have also encouraged small and medium-sized enterprises to adopt flexible working arrangements like telecommuting.

With epidemic prevention measures in place, the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation in the Economic-Technological Development Area already has 88% of its employees back on duty.

The development area has also encouraged companies to resume work and increase their investment in research and development (R&D) by giving them financial rewards and subsidies. For those engaging in the R&D and production of novel coronavirus-related drugs and diagnostic equipment, it provides a subsidy as high as 10% of their actual R&D investment.

On Feb. 10, more than 7,000 companies in various sub-parks in Zhongguancun welcomed their employees back to work, while some adopted telecommuting working methods.

"Thanks to telecommuting software, working from home can be as efficient as working in the workplace," some employees wrote in their WeChat Moments posts.

As a leading artificial intelligence (AI) company in the Zhongguangcun Science Park, MEGVII had their R&D team work overtime during the Spring Festival and successfully developed the AI fever screening solution, which is now deployed in busy public areas such as railway, bus, and subway stations as well as airports and is effectively contributing to the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus epidemic.

According to Sun Guannan, general manager of government affairs in MEGVII, employees are currently checking-in online, working from home, and reporting their health condition on a daily basis until they physically return to work on Feb. 17. MEGVII has also prepared medical masks for its employees and disinfected the office area. The company now hosts its regular meeting online.

Sun said that when work resumes proper, MEGVII will roll out other safety measures such as allowing staff to work during off-peak shifts without mandatory check-ins or compulsory attendance-taking. These measures hope to give employees more freedom to control their working hours, conduct independent R&D and help them avoid unnecessary human-to-human contact. 

In order to address the dining arrangements of employees in Zhongguancun, the Administrative Committee of the Zhongguangcun Science Park and e-commerce company Meituan will launch the "Work Lunch Express" project. Contactless meal delivery services will be provided to employees by Meituan from over 50 leading food companies and some 300 restaurants.

In addition, suppliers of disinfectants and fresh food have already resumed work to meet the increasing demand. An e-commerce platform in Zhongguancun has also increased its purchases from multiple suppliers, while online supplies and prices have held steady.

According to Chen Yanqing, head of this e-commerce platform, the company disinfects its warehouse on a daily basis while ensuring a steady flow of supply. Every delivery vehicle and parcel are disinfected according to the strictest standards. Employees have their temperature measured twice a day and change their masks and gloves three times each day. In addition, vehicles are equipped with disinfectant to make sure that every delivery made is safe and clean.

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