Inside look: Turkish businessman in China describes life in virus-infected country

Guangzhou is located in southern China, 800 kilometers from Wuhan city, and the coronavirus is most prevalent in Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, Cemsa CEO, Turkish businessman Cemal Saracoglu, who has been doing business in Guangzhou for 10 years.

These are industrial cities, where a lot of people live, Saracoglu said.

“When we go outside, we put on masks, we need to wash our hands after taking subway and buses,” the businessman noted. “All hygiene rules must be observed. It is forbidden to shake hands.”

Saracoglu added that there are very few people on the streets, they are wary of leaving home.

“The biggest problem is the return of 5 million residents to Wuhan who left for other cities to celebrate the Chinese New Year,” said the businessman. “People must return to Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Therefore, there will be more cases of virus infection in the coming days.”

Regarding the virus-related problems, Saracoglu said that it’s difficult to find many products in Wuhan.

“People can buy bread, fruits, vegetables in the amount controlled by the state, but there are still difficulties,” the businessman noted.

Saracoglu added that the biggest problem in China is that people go to work from Wuhan or its neighboring places in Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

“After the holidays, people will return,” Saracoglu added. “In accordance with the latest information, new cases of virus infection have been observed in Shenzhen. People who come to this city to work from other places have become ill.”

“Another problem is that if a person is a carrier, then he/she has no signs of the disease (he does not cough, the temperature does not rise) within two weeks, but this infected person can transmit the virus to others so it is very difficult to detect the disease,” the businessman added.

While answering the question concerning the measures which are taken by the country, Saracoglu replied that the government recommends not to leave the house.

“The factories will not operate in Wuhan, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Urumqi and Xi’an cities. People were warned that if anyone goes to work, then along the way they must not communicate with other people,” Saracoglu said.

“If the number of infected people continues to grow until February 10, the government may extend the closure of enterprises until February 15-20,” Saracoglu added. “At first, this date was December 31, then it was extended until February 3, now – until February 10. But the companies continue to pay salaries to people even if they don’t go to work.”

“Many people left their houses in Wuhan and went away,” the businessman said. “But then, as soon as the government banned the flights to/from Wuhan and blocked the main roads, no one could leave the city. Now it is forbidden to leave Wuhan.”

The businessman emphasized that the spread of the virus had a negative impact on business, leading to financial losses.

“We export electrical equipment from Guangzhou to Turkey, and we import wine from Azerbaijan and Georgia to China. No import or export operations are currently being conducted. The last time we delivered Azerbaijani wines to China was in October-November 2020. I do not believe that deliveries will be easy if we receive new orders. So now we are in stand by mode,” Saracoglu said.

In conclusion, Cemal Saracoglu added that there are approximately 300 patients in Guangzhou hospitals.

“There are no problems in the hospitals in Guangzhou or Shenzhen. There are not enough places in Wuhan hospitals, where the virus is most common. The Chinese government controls all issues, but China is a huge country, so managing and controlling the movement of people is not easy,” he said.