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Central Asia: Chinese workers reportedly work overtime to stay on production schedule despite COVID-19 outbreak

“Chinese business briefing: Working overtime”, 4 June 2020

… Chinese workers at a mine in northern Tajikistan had been demanding passage home for weeks before learning that a Chinese national in the country had contracted COVID-19… around 100 of the miners rioted, reportedly fearful they would not receive adequate treatment in Tajikistan if they, too, were infected. Authorities suppressed them with force. Many Chinese workers are stranded…

Still, for those lucky enough to be posted anywhere but Tajikistan, Central Asia is no workers’ paradise.

… state-owned China National Chemical Engineering Group Corporation revealed to Xinhua that it had since March 21 prohibited employees from entering or leaving the site of a $2.6 billion plastics factory under construction in Atyrau. Some workers have toiled over 200 days without a break, helping the company stay on schedule to open this year.

Efforts to fulfill quotas regardless of the pandemic have been reported in Turkmenistan, as well. The local subsidiary of China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec, has kept 35 staff working on a drilling project without breaks, the company said… Next door in Uzbekistan… state-owned China Railway Tunnel Group opened a 3,657-meter shaft for a new coal mine in the southern Surxondaryo region. Chinese workers found a way to enter Uzbekistan, manager Wang Jian told Xinhua, even though commercial flights between the countries had been suspended.

China National Petroleum Corporation, the state-owned oil and gas giant, has been keeping busy after a series of devastating storms hit the region in early May. Though Turkmen state media altogether ignored the destruction, CNPC announced it had worked quickly to repair damaged facilities and took credit for repairing parts of the Turkmen energy grid that had failed during a storm.

In Uzbekistan, CNPC said its teams had worked overtime to ensure pipelines and gas fields were unharmed during the inclement weather.

Despite the storms and the pandemic, CNPC likewise said it had met its quota to construct 39 drills in Uzbekistan’s south since March. A irrigation project being built by Xinjiang Tianye Water Saving Irrigation System Company has even pushed growth at a cotton plantation in Syr Darya province ahead of schedule, reported China News Service…

[Also referred to China Xinxing Construction Group, CNPC’s Pipeline Engineering Company, Alashankou Daodu Pipeline Company, Oshan, North China Petroleum Engineering Underground and S&P Global Platts]