As the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) epidemic begins to subside in Wuhan, the city most severely affected by COVID-19 in China, the military industry of the city is now going back to normal and making up for time lost during the city's lockdown.
The Wuhan-based No.701 Institute under the state-owned China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited (CSSC), a major design institute for China's warships, has been working overtime since March 3 to ensure that an undisclosed major project is not affected by the epidemic, according to a statement the institute released on its WeChat public account on Wednesday.
Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group Co Ltd, another CSSC subsidiary known for manufacturing submarines and surface vessels, welcomed a second batch of workers back to their positions on March 26, and its factory in Wuhan's Shuangliu reopened on March 27, with assembly lines there beginning to be gradually activated, the company said in two separate statements on its WeChat public account over the past week.
The situation facing military industry institutes and factories in Wuhan has drawn the attention of military observers since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, as the city was the most hit place by the epidemic in China.
Military experts told the Global Times in early February that China prioritized the health and safety of its weapon developers to avoid fatalities, which meant that any impact on weapons and equipment programs was just short-term.
The statements by the companies and institutes were positive signs, as any delay caused by the epidemic would only be two to three months, and even less if taking compensation for overtime work into consideration, analysts said.
In response to media reports that COVID-19's impact on the strategically important city of Wuhan could also impact China's weapons and equipment plan, Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Ren Guoqiang said at a routine press conference on March 26 that the Chinese People's Liberation Army's determination, will, and ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity will not be shaken by any force or disturbed in any way.