Passengers wait for trains at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station in Shanghai on Jan 3, 2021. YIN LIQIN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE
BEIJING — China’s 2021 Spring Festival travel season will start on Thursday with lowered expectations of passenger flows as the country tightens measures to curb the COVID-19 resurgence.
The 40-day travel peak is expected to see around 1.7 billion passenger trips, up about 10 percent year on year, but more than 40 percent lower than that of 2019, the Ministry of Transport has said.
To curb the spread of the coronavirus during the holiday period, China issued a plan to reduce mass gatherings and strengthen epidemic control, with measures such as advocating off-peak travel and encouraging people to stay put during the holiday.
In light of sporadic resurgence of COVID-19 cases and measures to reduce people’s movement, the China State Railway Group Co., Ltd., the national railway operator, lowered its estimate of railway passenger trips from 407 million to 296 million for the period.
Travelers have been advised to wear masks, get their health codes ready in advance and avoid taking food and drinks on public transportation.
China’s Spring Festival travel peak is commonly regarded as the world’s largest annual human migration. People across the country usually enjoy a week-long holiday for family gatherings and celebrations of the lunar New Year, which falls on Feb 12 this year.