http://www.bjreview.com FEBRUARY 13, 2020 BEIJING REVIEW 13
n Chinese mythology, the Spring Festival
is a celebration after dispelling an imagi-
nary monster called nian by bursting
crackers and pasting auspicious red pa-
per strips on doors. This year, China has
been grappling with a real monster—the 2019-
As of February 6, there were 31,211 con-
Hubei. The death toll was 637 while 1,542 peo-
ple were cured and discharged from hospital.
in about 20 more countries.
On February 3, the Standing Committee of
the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of
China (CPC) Central Committee met to discuss
how to double efforts to contain the outbreak.
President Xi Jinping, also General Secretary of
the CPC Central Committee, said not just medi-
cal and healthcare but “all work should serve to
He also stressed that there should be no
formalism and bureaucracy in fighting the
epidemic and any dereliction of duty would be
only by medical workers at the frontline but also
by everyone else in different ways. For a major-
ity of people, it is a silent war fought from inside
their homes or behind masks.
A bustling transportation hub located in a
Beijing neighborhood known as China’s Silicon
Valley, the Shangdi Subway Station is a place
where one can feel the pulsating vitality of the
hi-tech area. Workday mornings always see
jostling crowds in and out of the station and the
nearby streets teeming with commuters.
But not on February 3, the first workday
after the end of the Chinese New Year holiday.
The station looked deserted even during what
should have been the peak morning rush hour,
with only one or two passengers walking in
occasionally. Mu Ye, a young staffer at the sta-
tion, told Beijing Review that in recent days few
people took the subway.
After the outbreak of the novel coronavirus
or 2019-nCoV, Mu has got a new assignment.
Wearing a gas mask and carrying a white hand-
held digital thermometer, his work is to check
the temperature of the people arriving at the
Many people did not return to their
workplaces on February 3 due to policies
implemented to halt the transmission of the
virus. Those traveling back to the capital from
outside were mandated to self-quarantine for
two weeks if they had returned by public trans-
portation, or for one week if they had traveled
in their own vehicles. Flexible work hours and
working from home have been encouraged.
The Beijing Municipal Government, like many
local governments in the country, asked com-
panies in the city not to resume work until
February 10, except public utilities and health-
care and medical product manufacturers.
After the onset of the outbreak about one
month ago, various initiatives have been taken
to stop the transmission of the disease. The
epicenter of the outbreak, Wuhan in Hubei
Province in central China, has been sealed off.
People are being scanned in public places for
fever. Notices are being issued regularly, asking
residents to wear masks, wash their hands after
coming in from outside, and stay away from
crowded places. Individuals are required to re-
port their health condition.
At the Qinghe Railway Station on the
recently launched Beijing-Zhangjiakou
High-Speed Railway, smart equipment that
combines infrared temperature measure-
ment with facial recognition is being used. A
Medical workers admit patients infected with the novel coronavirus at the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan,
Hubei Province in central China, on February 4