PanamaTimes

Sunday, Jun 16, 2024

0:00
0:00

China's New Year travel set to double to 2bn trips after zero-COVID easing

Lunar New Year travel will nearly double to 2.095 billion trips this season, Chinese transportation authorities said Friday, after the country all but abolished zero-COVID restrictions last month. Nation readies for first holiday in four years without limits on movements.
This year's holiday will run for seven days through Jan. 27. Rail and other networks have prepared to serve the crush of travelers for a 40-day period starting Saturday.

The estimated number of passenger trips, released by the Ministry of Transport, would mark a recovery to 70% of the holiday traffic seen in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

China's surge in COVID-19 cases appears to be easing in some large cities, but the outbreak is far from over. Concerns linger that the travel rush will spread the disease to smaller cities and rural areas.

Migrant workers typically use the Lunar New Year holiday to travel home for family reunions. On Friday, a train station in Guangzhou that serves long-haul trips was thronged with passengers lugging large suitcases.

"My parents at home and I have already recovered from COVID," said a man who gave his surname as Lu and was on the way to visit family in southern China's Guangxi region. "There's nothing to worry about, so we'll get together with relatives."

Overseas trips are expected to climb as well from the zero-COVID lows of last year. The number of travel reservations for the week through Jan. 27 is more than six times that of the Lunar New Year holiday of 2022, according to Chinese booking site Trip.com Group. The most popular destination is Australia, followed by Thailand and Japan.

The Chinese government pave the way for the first Lunar New Year holiday in four years without major travel restrictions when it with announced a major rollback of zero-COVID rules last month.

This reversal followed protests in November where people in Beijing, Shanghai and beyond held up blank sheets of white paper and called for an end to the restrictive measures, which included lockdowns and mass testing.

The economic fallout added to the resentment of the zero-COVID policy. Gross domestic product is believed to have grown by about 3% in real terms in 2022 -- well short of the government's target of around 5.5%. The deteriorating labor market has left a growing number of young people without work.

But as the containment policy eased, COVID-19 flared up in big cities. According to estimates by regional authorities and medical professionals, 80% of Beijing residents had a history of infection at the end of the year. The ratios are 70% for Shanghai and about 64% for the inland province of Sichuan.

U.K. health analytics firm Airfinity pegged daily infections at 2.5 million and daily deaths at 16,600 in China forecasts updated Friday, up from more than 1 million and over 5,000 in a Dec. 21 forecast.

Airfinity predicts that China's cumulative deaths from COVID-19 since Dec. 1 will reach 1.7 million by the end of April, up from more than 209,000 in Friday's numbers.

Beijing and other big cities have been seeing people move about in greater numbers since late last month. In 18 large cities, the volume of subway passengers at the end of the year had bounced back to 60% of the level seen at the same period in 2019, according to Chinese brokerage Haitong Securities.

Nearly all Seven-Eleven convenience stores in Beijing were operating normally as of Monday. In December, 60 stores, or about 20% of the total in the Chinese capital, had to close temporarily as workers called in sick. Customer traffic is recovering, too, said a representative from Seven-Eleven's parent company, Japan's Seven & i Holdings.

The Lunar New Year holiday will provide the first big test of China's looser approach to containing COVID-19.
Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
Inside El Salvador’s 40,000 Inmate Mega-Prison
Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and Suzuki have committed fraud; falsified safety test results
El Salvador's Bitcoin Holdings Reach $350 Million
Teens Forming Friendships with AI Chatbots
WhatsApp Rolls Out Major Redesign
Neuralink's First Brain Implant Experiences Issue
Apple Unveils New iPad Pro with M4 Chip, Misleading AI Claims
OpenAI to Announce Google Search Competitor
Apple Apologizes for Controversial iPad Pro Ad Featuring Instrument Destruction
German politician of the AFD party, Marie-Thérèse Kaiser was just convicted & fined $6,000+
Changpeng Zhao Sentenced to Four Months in Jail
Biden Administration to Relax Marijuana Regulations
101-Year-Old Woman Mistaken for a Baby by American Airlines: Comical Mix-Up during Flight Check-in
King Charles and Camilla enjoying the Inuit voice singing performance in Canada.
New Study: Vaping May Lower Fertility in Women Trying to Get Pregnant
U.S. DOJ Seeks Three-Year Sentence for Binance Founder Changpeng Zhao
Headlines - Thursday, 23 April 2024
Illinois Woman Wins $45M Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson and Kenvue for Mesothelioma Linked to Baby Powder
Panama's lates news for Friday, April 19
Creative menu of a Pizza restaurant..
You can be a very successful player, but a player with character is another level!
Experience the Future of Dining: My Visit to an AI-Powered Burger Joint
Stabbing rampage terror attack in Sydney, at least four people killed, early reports that a baby was among those stabbed.
Iran fired more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel overnight. Israel Reports Light Damage After Iran Launches Large Strike.
I will never get enough of his videos and the pure joy and beauty of these women!!
Scientists at the University of Maryland have developed an "invisibility cloak", for AI using adversarial patterns on a sweater, making the wearer nearly undetectable to standard object detection methods.
Lamborghini Bids Farewell to Its Best-Selling Sports Car: The Huracán
Sam Bankman-Fried Appeals 25-Year Prison Sentence for $8bn FTX Fraud
OJ Simpson, ex-NFL star who was acquitted of murder, dies aged 76
British Backpacker Imprisoned in Notorious Bolivian Prison: Family Raises Funds for Legal Fight and Essentials
Argentina: Venezuela Cuts Power to Embassy after Opposition Meeting
El Salvador Offers 5,000 Passports to Skilled Foreign Workers: Tax-Free Relocation and Citizenship
Panama Papers Trial Begins: Founders of Mossack Fonseca Face Money-Laundering Charges
75 Becomes the New 65: Retiring in Your 60s Unrealistic as Life Expectancy Increases and Costs Rise
Total Solar Eclipse of 2021: 32 Million Witness the Mystical, $1.5bn Spectacle Sweep Across North America
New shopping experience…
New world, new reality, let’s get used to it
UK Company Passes Milestone in Developing Space-Based Solar Power, Aiming to Power a Million Homes and Provide Constant Energy
Mexico Breaks Diplomatic Ties with Ecuador after Police Storm Embassy, Arrest Former Vice President
Monty Python were so ahead of their time
If there's a will, there's a way!
Rules about how to dress are important, but not so much if you have a lot of money.
Body Armor Firm Showcases Stab-Proof Vest in Demo on CEO
Mexico Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Ecuador After Embassy Stormed in Quito
Here is a tattoo idea, for engineers
Zoraya Ter Beek, a 28-year-old woman from the Netherlands, will undergo euthanasia in May due to severe mental health challenges
Here's a video featuring Fidel Castro, where he discusses his stance against war and his commitment to preserving life, positions that have put him at odds with the USA:
Woman reaches behind and steals gun from a security guard and shoots three people while getting detained in Chile
Take a walk around the safe and thriving downtown San Salvador.
Joe Biden criticised by Trump campaign for declaring Transgender Day of Visibility on Easter Sunday
×