Overnight, news broke from Hubei province that the number of reported cases of the novel Coronavirus spiked sharply – sufficient enough it cost two Chinese politicians their jobs. Reporting in the South China Morning Post states two Communist Party officials were replaced as the number of reported cases spiked ten fold, adding 14,840 new cases to the tally, bringing the total now to 48,206 with 242 new deaths.
The New York Times reports the sharp rise in reported cases illustrates how hard it has been for scientists to grasp the extent and severity of the coronavirus outbreak in China, particularly inside the epicenter, where thousands of sick people remain untested for the illness.
Confronted by so many people with symptoms and no easy way to test them, authorities appear to have changed the way the illness is identified.
As far as manufacturing is concerned, worker shortages, transport disruption, a lack of medical supplies and heavy-handed local officials are all making life difficult for factories – some workers are coming from Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu and Zheijiang and are being quarantined for two weeks.
According to Reuters, Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn only had 16,000 employees return – a tenth of their total workforce – and have taken to manufacturing two million surgical masks per day for their employees.
Transit times are affected, and for those factories who have been able to resume production, the few number of air and sea carriers operating in and through mainland China portends higher freight rates in the near term. Shortages of specialty equipment such as reefer containers are to be certain in the short term because of the lack of free movement throughout China.
We’re still seeing issues with local truckers that are not allowed to enter other localities. For example in The Beilun District Government of Ningbo, health check authorization has not been granted. Local authorities require enterprises to submit applications for approval to resume work thereby demonstrating their capability in ensuring strict safety processes and maintaining adequate hygiene.
For pickups within Shanghai there is no problem. However, cross province pickups from Jiangsu Province or Zhejiang Province can be problematic as these provinces have restricted road access to local registered trucks only. As we have done in the past week, we are doing our best to work with our trucking companies in these provinces or utilize suppliers’ referred trucking company or suppliers’ own trucks to deliver to Shanghai. Higher charges may apply in these cases as capacity is very tight with production ramping back up.
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