Following a prolonged holiday due to the novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) outbreak, workers are returning and machines are operating again at construction sites of the Haikou International Duty Free City Complex, one of the major projects of the China (Hainan) Pilot Free Trade Zone.

It covers 45 hectares – the largest in the world – to be completed with 12 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) investment.

Hainan was given approval by the central government in April 2018 to build a pilot free trade zone covering the whole tropical island and authority to explore the establishment of a free trade port with Chinese characteristics.

“Work is being carried out in an all-round way,” said Xue Rubing, a manager of the Harrow International School Haikou project, which will open and provide Harrow international courses for eligible foreign and Chinese children in September. He said more than 100 workers are busy working at the school located in Haikou Jiangdong New District, a new benchmark development area established in the provincial capital in June 2018.

As a leading area of Hainan FTZ, construction of some key industrial projects in Jiangdong has been going on continuously and initial progress has been made in the second-phase project of Haikou Meilan International Airport, the tunnel crossing the Nandu River and the second-phase of the Haixiu Expressway. No NCP infections have been reported so far, said officials with the Haikou city government.

As of Thursday, 53.6 percent of the 478 enterprises in the Haikou National High-tech Zone had resumed production and 87.9 percent of large-size companies have restarted operations, according to the zone’s management office.

The Hainan Provincial Development and Reform Commission said another 1,575 projects are ready to resume construction or operations in the near future.

The provincial government has issued notices asking companies to establish complete epidemic prevention and control systems to prevent workplace infections, said Chen Xiaojing, deputy director of Hainan Provincial Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

Meanwhile, Hainan has launched comprehensive epidemic prevention and control insurance for enterprises returning to work, which provides risk guarantees for product losses and personnel isolation, with a maximum compensation of 2 million yuan, which has been widely praised by local companies.

Leading officials with the Hainan provincial government said that the current epidemic is a big test in accelerating construction of the Hainan free trade port.

However, they said, it has not hindered relevant preparatory work. And solid efforts have been made to ensure Hainan will well implement the overall plan for the free trade port to be issued by the central government.

Major scenic spots in Sanya and Haikou have reopened since Friday, but indoor attractions remain closed. All major scenic sites in Sanya will require real-name reservations, and all tourists have to receive temperature checks at entrance gates, according to the provincial tourism authorities.

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