China Manufacturer Suffers Coronavirus Scare

By Charles Rollet, Published Feb 20, 2020, 03:13am EST (Info+)

Uniview suffered a significant health scare last week after one of its employees reported a fever and initially tested positive for coronavirus. The case sparked an online frenzy and prompted Uniview to isolate the employee's colleagues, but, two days later, local health authorities concluded he did not have the disease.

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Comments (30)

They are still planning to attend ISC, not sure how since they have like no US employees.

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not sure how since they have like no US employees.

Are you sure? I see a few on Linkedin.

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How many are there? Enough to fill the booth?

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They have rep firms and distributors that they can fill their booth with. Honestly when I went to their booth in years past, those were the only people who could really answer questions. The uniview employees seemed like they were there more for show or to engage with native speakers

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They have enough visas to rotate people in and out... "USA" doesn't have to actually mean "American Citizen"...

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Rotate in and out from where.......

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They have a global presence, so the answer can literally be "Anywhere."

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so the answer can literally be "Anywhere."

So Uniview is bringing employees from Sweeden, Bolivia and Liberia? I get they have a 'global presence' but 90%+ of their employees are from the PRC, it's not an unreasonable question.

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I never did say it was unreasonable. However they have staff traveling all over the globe. So if no flights can come in from Hangzhou, their sales reps in Mexico, Brazil, Africa... literally anywhere that they are other than Hangzhou, can come to America.

The employee can still be from Hangzhou, and not be in Hangzhou.

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literally anywhere that they are other than Hangzhou, can come to America.

That I agree with, I just don't know how many sales staff Uniview has in Brazil, Africa, etc. And how well those sales staff can speak English.

Generally speaking, a lot of PRC manufacturer staff that come from aboard have limited English speaking abilities and are therefore not of much help to the average ISC West attendee.

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"Limited English" and "not much help" is not outside of my experience with PRC Manufacturers at ISC west, even with Dahua and Hikvision outside of the last 5-6 years (many times having to wait for one employee to go find the English-fluent employee). A lot of UNV's reps actually speak English fairly well. Also, when their reps are traveling (and they have been doing so prior to the Corona outbreak) they normally travel for at least over a month. So anyone that was away when the outbreak happened could very reasonably have stayed away for an extended amount of time.

All I'm saying is that given a crisis (what Corona has become) that strategy could dictate the execution of this very reasonable possibility.

Central to South America, as well as any developing nation, are very big opportunities and I know first hand that a few reps have been to Mexico recently. It is also very likely that given China's big interest in Africa(if anyone is unfamiliar just do a quick google search on "China in Africa") that they very well could have a larger-than-expected presence there.

UNV is pretty good about controlling their public image, having been following almost precisely in Dahua & Hikvision's footsteps they get to learn from their mistakes.

I don't think any of this is unreasonable or unlikely conjecture.

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Well, we would present UNV products at our booth. I believe Uniview's distributors would still be there, all US residents.

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Uniview has an office in Mexico where their overseas salesforce can redirect their trips to Mexico first, station there for a few of weeks & then enter the U.S. from Mexico to attend the ISC West. Honestly, Uniview is better off not sending any sales staffs from overseas to the ISC West as they are still out of touch with the U.S. market, instead, they should distribute the budget to their local distributors and let them run the show.

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Update: we asked Uniview about this and they told us:

[due to] the coronavirus issue, we won’t send staff from China to ISC West this year. Only Uniview staff that [are] based at overseas branches or has been out of China for more than two weeks will be at the booth.

[emphasis ours]

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How many are there? Enough to fill the booth?

This is a good point. The half dozen North American employees I can find on LinkedIn could not fill the booth all day.

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Yikes... weird seeing that hazmat guy spraying down a display that I've stood next to. Hope that everyone at UNV Hangzhou are healthy and okay.

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Thank you Zach, I heard that they had run out of all the masks. It's a pretty scary situation now.

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It's not just in China, masks are almost impossible to come by right now. I've contacted multiple distributors and even reached out to half a dozen manufacturers, everyone is either out or refusing to take orders from new customers. In fact if anyone has a lead on distributor or manufacturer who has n95/r95/p95 whatever lol let me know

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Wow that is kind of crazy, reminds me of 9/11 when all the gas masks and doomsday prep products were flying off the shelves.

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Uniview told IPVM that the first result, a nucleic acid (or blood) test, was a false positive.

Charles, do you have any sense about how accurate these tests are? It seems either odd or concerning that a blood test of something so significant could return a false positive. Is this like 1 false positive out of 100 or how common are false positives on these blood tests?

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I've heard of a lot more false negatives than false positives, which could be much worse. There have been multiple reports of people being tested 3 times before the positive test result was found. I believe the late Dr Lee was one of these multiple false negatives even though he had all the symptoms including the pneumonia and it wasn't until they tested the fluid in his lungs that they confirmed there suspicions.

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There has indeed been a lot of coverage of regular false negatives for nucleic acid tests, which led Chinese health authorities to encourage chest scans as a way to confirm infections.

However, I can't find a confirmed accuracy rate for nucleic acid tests' detection of the new coronavirus. Given how recent the pandemic is, I don't think those figures are currently known. However, the New York Times did report that the overwhelmed nature of Chinese state labs (which analyze the tests) could lead to false positives:

Dr. W. Ian Lipkin [a professor at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and advisor to China's CDC] said he knew of one lab running 5,000 samples a day, which might produce some false-positive results, inflating the count. “You can’t possibly do quality control at that rate,” he said.

The US' CDC also urges that nucleic acid tests for the novel coronavirus undergo "strict quality control and quality assurance procedures" in order to "help minimize chance of false positive amplification".

Finally, another factor that could lead to false positives are flawed test kits. Due to the outbreak, the Chinese government greenlit mass production of test kits without the usual quality control measures in place, leading to quality concerns. Even the US is having trouble getting good quality testing kits.

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The map linked in the article is pretty great.

Related: red circle coming soon.

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Wishing good health to everyone in China. I may have my disagreements with the PRC but this is a human crisis. We have sent many masks to China to try to do some good.

Stay safe everyone.

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Our vendor partners are also asking us to send masks so they can start up, but I believe 95% of masks are made in China so we may be shooting ourselves in the foot.

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Right now masks can buy not such difficult ,I think everything can be back to normal in middle March if no further spreading. Every factory here meet bad lack of workers, materials. So orders all will be delayed.

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I've heard that apparently masks don't even actually matter. Makes sense too if it's such a tiny microscopic virus- you'd probably need a proper filter and even then you'd probably need to cover your ears and eyes and every orifice, and even then skin abrasions could be a source of infection.

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Even for those that say that masks won’t protect the wearer, they acknowledge that masks help you from infecting others, so the more people that wear masks, the better to not spread infection to others, even for people not wearing them.

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Hmm... that doesn't make much sense to me. If the virus can come into the mask, surely it could come out of the mask? Or is it that virus finds another point of contact to infect besides the breath/mouth/nose and the mask actually does block/contain the virus?

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Not an expert but this is being said even by people arguing against general mask use, e.g. this article, Surgeon General Urges the Public to Stop Buying Face Masks - The New York Times,">Surgeon General Urges the Public to Stop Buying Face Masks - The New York Times, excerpt:

Dr. Ryan said masks primarily prevent a person from giving the disease to someone else.

The way I interpret that is that masks can help overall but given their shortage they are effectively trying to ration them to people at most risk – those infected and those medical professionals treating the infected.

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