HANGZHOU, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — The eastern Chinese manufacturing hub of Zhejiang is sending charter trains and buses to ferry back migrant workers to speed up the resumption of production at local companies disrupted by the country’s novel coronavirus outbreak.
More than 1,000 migrant workers from Zhenxiong County in the southwestern province of Yunnan returned to work in the city of Yongkang in Zhejiang Province on Monday after a trip of more than 30 hours.
Yongkang is home to more than 20,000 enterprises, with more than 500,000 migrant workers, about 110,000 of whom are from Zhenxiong. Before the Chinese Spring Festival, more than 40,000 from Zhenxiong returned to their hometown.
To take the migrants back to work sooner and prevent potential infection, the city government decided to send charter buses to take them from their homes directly to the factories.
Before taking buses, all the workers must first pass health checks and their body temperatures are regularly monitored during the trips.
“I earlier planned to return to work on Jan. 29. But because of the epidemic, I had been staying at home for quarantine, and worrying how I could get back to work,” said Zhu Hengqiao, one of the 1,000 workers.
“Then the buses rented by the Yongkang government came to take us back. The sooner we get to work, the sooner we get paid. I feel happy to be back,” Zhu said.
Lyu Zhengjian, general manager of Zhejiang Ansheng, a producer of vacuum cups that are sold to over 20 countries and regions, said his company faced a labor shortage when planning to resume production after the holiday and the government service did him a big favor.
“With over 50 workers returning Monday, we will gradually resume normal production,” said Lyu.
Wang Hai, deputy director of the city’s human resources and social security bureau, said the government is planning to send high-speed trains to take more migrant workers back to work.
China Railway authorities also arranged special trains to take migrant workers back to work.
Taking the first such train after the Spring Festival, Wang Zhenbo and 13 other fellow villagers from the southwestern province of Guizhou arrived in Hangzhou, the provincial capital of Zhejiang, late Sunday.
To meet the huge labor demand from enterprises in Zhejiang, and reduce the risks of the epidemic spreading, Hangzhou has applied to the railway department for such charter trains for those returning to work from places where the epidemic situation is less severe.
Special measures have been taken for passengers on the train, including strict temperature monitoring, better ventilation and scattered seating.
Only people who are given health clearance can board the train and they are subject to body temperature measurement and identity verification when they arrive in Hangzhou, according to the Hangzhou municipal bureau of economy and information technology.