Some 160 million Chinese citizens are expected to return to work by February 18 as the country works to stabilize the economy amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Schools, businesses, and entire cities across China have been shut down for weeks. The coronavirus hit during Lunar New Year in January, a public holiday that was extended this year to allow people to stay home during the outbreak.
February 18 will mark the official end of the Spring Festival travel period, when millions of people return to places of work or residence after having traveled home for Lunar New Year, said China's State Council in a news conference yesterday.
Safety measures: The government will take measures to minimize the chances of transmission as people go back to work, such as stepping up the sterilization of public transport and conducting temperature checks on passengers, said an official from the Ministry of Transport.
Economy hit by closures: The coronavirus has hit the Chinese economy hard, with closed businesses, halted operations, and disrupted supply chains in various sectors of business.
On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country needed to stabilize the economy and prevent large-scale layoffs, and that it was ready to help companies resume production.