We spoke to workers in Asia impacted by the coronavirus, and it shows how the outbreak could affect white- and blue-collar jobs around the world

beijing china bun shop coronavirus

The coronavirus, a disease outbreak which has spread to 26 countries since late December, upended work in East and Southeast Asia.
In conversations on how coronavirus impacted work in East and Southeast Asia, white-collar workers expressed greater feelings of job security than low-earning workers, and some small business owners reported losing jobs or pay as a result of the outbreak.
The pressure to come to work for fear of losing pay can cause a public health hazard, according to experts.
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Korn Opas, the owner of a massage studio in Bangkok, saw a significant drop in visitors after the coronavirus outbreak in China — a big impact for a business that relies, like Thailand does in general, on Chinese tourists for much of its GDP.

Besides losing clients from decreased travel from China, Opas told Business Insider she lost even more money paying for hand sanitizer and disposable masks. After the outbreak, mask prices shot up by 50% to 100% online, she said, before the government controlled prices. Even products to make home-made hand sanitizer have increased, Opas said.

“The impact to normal business will depend on how soon the virus outbreak is controlled worldwide as the Thailand economy depends largely on tourism,” she added.

In Japan, a Tokyo-based programmer for a major company told Business Insider his pay has not been impacted at all after coronavirus. The software developer’s company encouraged workers to work from home, but he said his team finds it better to take shifts coming into the office to lessen the disease’s spread.

Across Asia, white-collar professionals like the programmer in Tokyo have seen less impacts to their pay from the coronavirus outbreak than blue-collar workers such as Opas. As coronavirus enters its third month and deaths surge past 1,300 as of February 13, low-wage and small business workers across East and Southeast Asia have worried about paying their bills and keeping their jobs. Professionals employed by larger companies have, for the most part, more job security and flexibility to work from home.

Business Insider spoke with five workers in East and Southeast Asia who had been impacted by coronavirus. Most requested anonymity due to fear they would lose their jobs or clients. We confirmed their identities prior to publishing.

Tech workers in Asia haven’t had too many issues from coronavirus, while small business owners and low-wage workers have lost pay, jobs.

The coronavirus first spread from the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December. Since the initial outbreak, more than 1,000 people have died in China, and deaths have also been reported in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Japan as of February 13, with as many as 60,000 infections reported as far afield as the US and parts of the EU.

The sudden outbreak upended work around East and Southeast Asia. Many businesses closed following the Chinese New Year holiday in late January, and companies mandated work-from-home schedules. China’s efforts to protect workers from getting sick have included a 10-day extension of the Lunar …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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