Beijing is advising against Chinese New Year travel as the country suffers its highest COVID-19 numbers since last summer. According to the SCMP, the central government has set up a working group of 15 member units to oversee the travel period that usually results in the largest annual human migration on the planet.
With the holiday falling on February 12 this year, China’s railway authority is expecting to see more than 400 million journeys taken up between January 28 and March 8. Meanwhile, Sunday marked China’s biggest daily increase in COVID-19 infections since July, with 103 new cases, 85 of which were locally transmitted. The northern provinces of Hebei, Liaoning and Beijing are among the worst affected.
The new working group, which is being led by transport minister Li Xiaopeng and consists of the National Railway Administration, the Civil Aviation Administration and the Ministry of Public Security, among others, is advising schools and businesses to stagger holidays. Li is also calling for the close monitoring of passenger flow through Spring Festival and the tightening up of control measures for those traveling to high-risk domestic areas and returning from overseas.
Ideally, the government would like people to stay where they live and work this holiday instead of traveling across the country to visit relatives. In response, some schools are extending the holiday in order to allow students to leave and return in batches, while some companies are offering staff bonuses and subsidies to stay put.
Anyone returning from abroad or a medium or high-risk domestic area will be required to submit to a COVID test and 14 days isolation, according to the report.
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Keywords: Chinese New Year travel
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