Last updated: 29th March

China temporarily closes border to foreigners on Saturday 28th March

In a measure to reduce the number of imported cases of COVID-19, China will temporarily not be allowing most foreigners in to the country from Saturday 28th March, even those with existing work visas and resident permits. No date has been given yet for when foreigners will be able to enter China again. Once the number of coronavirus cases outside of China have been controlled and reduced, the Chinese border will likely be reopened. You will still have to complete a 14 day quarantine once you enter China, before starting work. For more details see these articles from The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, The Beijinger and Bloomberg.

Q: Are schools in China still hiring?
A: Yes, demand for English teachers in China is higher than ever. As schools across China are preparing to re-open in April (more details below) they continue to recruit teachers for start dates from June to November. The work visa application process for China can take 2 to 4 months to process, so you are encouraged interview with schools in China now and once you have accepted a job, you can begin getting the work visa documents ready so you can enter China once the border is reopened.

Q: What if I have already accepted a job with a school in China but do not have a work visa yet?
A: You can continue preparing the required documents for the China work visa in your home country. If you need assistance with this, we are partnered with various visa agents around the world that can assist you with this process. Please contact us for visa advice. Once you have the required documents your school will issue you with a Z work visa invitation letter. As soon as the ban on foreigners entering China has been lifted, you can take the invitation letter to the Chinese embassy and get your Z work visa and then enter China.

Q: What if I have already been issued the Z work visa but I haven’t entered China yet and the visa is expiring soon?
A: Once the Z work visa has been stamped in to your passport, you have 3 months to enter China. If the work visa expires before you enter China, the school will have to reapply for a new invitation letter for you. The good news is the school can just use the existing documents they already have from you to reissue it. You can then use that to apply for a new Z work visa. A lot of schools are offering to reimburse any visa application costs, please check with your school directly to ask if yours does.

Q: What can I do to supplement my income while I wait to start my teaching job in China?
A: A number of teachers have taken part-time online teaching jobs to earn some extra income, while they wait for the start of their teaching job in China. You can Google online teaching jobs, there are plenty of options, such as VIPKid, TutorABC and DadaABC.

Q: What if I am already in China and want to leave my current school and get a new job with another school in a different city?
A: If you are already in China and want to switch schools and transfer your work visa from one to the other, you will need:
– minimum 45 days validity on active residence permit (Z visa)
– work permit cancellation letter from previous employer
– to already be working in the eduction sector

If you are moving from one province to another in China, you will likely still need to complete a 14 day quarantine.

New cases of coronavirus across China fallen dramatically

The number of new cases of the coronavirus reported across China are significantly down, a very positive sign that the measures taken to contain the virus have been working. Since mid-February the number of cases in each province have been zero or close to zero. China has had a number of days where there were no new reported local cases. The small number of new cases have been imported cases, from people entering China from overseas. These cases are being identified at the airport or during the mandatory 14 day quarantine.

“Schools, factories, public spaces and tourism destinations are starting to reopen.” (South China Morning Post)

“China on Thursday (19th March) reported no new local infections for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began three months ago, reaching a milestone in its battle with the deadly outbreak” (New York Times)

“The Chinese mainland reported seven new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 on Wednesday 11th March outside Hubei Province, the NHC said.” (Business Standard)

“China is already, and rightfully, working to bolster its economy, reopen its schools and return to a more normal semblance of its society, even as it works to contain the remaining chains of COVID-19 transmission.” Source: Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Schools across China announced re-opening dates

On 12th March the Ministry of Education in China released their ‘Guidelines on COVID-19 Prevention and Control’ for kindergartens, primary, middle, and high schools, as well as higher education institutes. The guidelines contain basic information about COVID-19, steps schools must take to prepare for reopening, and regulations once students return to campus.

Schools across China have been announcing re-opening dates, on a province by province basis. A lot of provinces have already announced that public schools will be reopening in early to mid-April. It is expected private language schools will be following soon with re-opening dates.

26th March: In Fujian Province, 12th graders will be allowed to resume onsite learning April 7. 9th graders will be the next to return, with other grades following suit, however no date has been given for those students.

26th March: In Sichuan Province, 12th graders will return to campus on April 1, with 9th graders returning one week later, on April 7.

25th March: Anhui senior high school students will restart classes April 7, with 9th graders going back April 13 and other grades to return no earlier than April 20, the province’s education ministry announced yesterday.

22nd March: Jiangsu seniors and 9th graders will return to school on March 30 and other grades should be prepared to return to school gradually after April 7, the province’s education ministry announced yesterday.

21st March: High School seniors and 9th graders in Jiangxi Province will go back to school on April 7 with other grades to follow at a later date, the provincial Department of Education announced today.

19th March: Guangxi Province announced Wednesday the timetable for students returning to in-person classes, according to the Beijing News. High school seniors and 9th graders will return on April 7, with other grades to follow based on the outbreak situation over time.

18th March: Shaanxi senior high schoolers will return to class on March 30 and 9th graders will start April 7, the provincial education commission reported this morning.

11th March: the province of Yunnan in the south west of China announced high schools and grade 9 will be re-opening on 23rd March with other grades being re-opened on 30th March.

11th March: Xinjiang province announced that high schoolers and 9th graders will return to school on 16th March and all remaining grades will return to class on 23rd March.

7th March: High school seniors in Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province, officially became the first students in China to return to school on Wednesday, 11th March.


Graphs below (as of 12th March):

Orange = total cases
Light blue = recovered
Dark blue = deaths
Source: National & Local Health Commission in China (website in Chinese)

This graph shows the number of new cases across China:
Yellow = all of China
Orange = Hubei province
Red = Outside Hubei province
Source: National & Local Health Commission in China (website in Chinese)


Schools are also taking steps to ensure the entire school and classrooms are kept disinfected to ensure the prevention of the spread of any viruses:

What is Wuhan coronavirus?
The coronavirus, known as COVID-19, causes flu symptoms, and those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. Here is a map of cases complied by Johns Hopkins with data from the World Health Organisation and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of all reported cases, according to World Meter:
95% reported as ‘mild’ (cough, fever)
5% reported as ‘severe’ or ‘critical’

The recovery rate has been rising, over 140,000 people now, and as the virus runs its course, the recovery rate in China continues to rise every day.

In cities in China, people are taking precautions to limit the spread by:
– wearing masks in crowded places
– washing hands regularly
– avoiding touching face before washing hands
– avoiding close contact with anyone that has flu-like symptoms

Treatment & Cures

14th March: “Germany’s CureVac says low-dose coronavirus vaccine could allow for mass production” (Reuters)

6th Feb: “China has applied for a new patent on an experimental Gilead Sciences Inc. drug that its scientists believe might fight the coronavirus.”

Hong Kong researchers have already developed a vaccine for the coronavirus, but will need time for testing.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Moderna and the University of Queensland are working on a vaccine.

Bloomberg has also reported here that Thailand has had good results treating a Chinese man with two antiviral drugs. “The patient’s condition significantly improved within 48 hours after the medical team decided to use antiviral drugs originally used for HIV and influenza in his treatment”.

China has also been using HIV drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir to treat the virus successfully:
“Wang Guangfa, a respiratory expert at Peking University First Hospital in Beijing who was infected by the virus after visiting Wuhan to inspect to coronavirus patients, told China News Week earlier this week that his doctor recommended he take the HIV drugs to fight the new virus and they worked on him.” (source)

Useful links:
World Health Organisation
Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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