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China factories limp back to life a month after coronavirus hiatus

Doors reopen but labor shortage prevents full recovery

A Mengniu Dairy factory in Beijing. China's factories have restarted operations after an extended Lunar New Year break, but have not reached normal levels of production.   © Reuters

GUANGZHOU/BEIJING -- China's factories have been back online for one month now after the Lunar New Year holiday was extended to cope with the outbreak of the new coronavirus, but a lack of workers has stopped them from returning to anywhere near normal operations.

The Chinese government has been pushing manufacturers to restart operations since late last month to mitigate the outbreak's economic blow, as the industry ministry pledged on Feb. 24 to provide priority support industries with a high degree of pull in the overall economy -- such as autos and electronics as well as shipbuilding and aircraft.

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