Covid-19: China sees 45% drop in holiday travel


Passengers wearing facemasks arriving from different provinces arriving at the Beijing Railway Station after their extended Chinese New Year break due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The volume of passenger trips during the Spring Festival travel rush this year is expected to be 45% lower than last year due to the outbreak, with no peak in the number of return trips, said China's Ministry of Transport on Saturday (Feb 15).

BEIJING: The volume of passenger trips during the Spring Festival travel rush this year is expected to be 45% lower than last year due to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, with no peak in the number of return trips, said China's Ministry of Transport on Saturday (Feb 15).

"Multiple measures on staggering return trips have been implemented to lower the risks of epidemic transmission, and they are producing notable results," Li Wenxin, vice general manager of the China State Railway Group Co, Ltd., said at a press conference in Beijing.

In the near future, there will be no large-scale flows of people in return trips on the railway, Li said.

It was estimated that the number of railway passenger trips after the Spring Festival would reach 280 million, with an average of 11.2 million per day, said Li, adding that in fact, the total number of passengers sent after the holiday was less than 40 million as of Friday, with an average of 1.84 million each day, down 83% from the same period last year.

The number of passenger trips made by air also dropped sharply, and from Jan 25 to Feb 14, civil aviation transported 470,000 passengers per day, a quarter of the number from the same period last year, said Li Jian, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

"The downward trend is expected to continue from Feb. 15 to 23, with less than 40 percent of seats filled," Li Jian said.

From Jan 25 to Feb 14, a total of 283 million passenger trips were made across the country, with 13.48 million per day, down 82.3% compared with the same period last year, said Liu Xiaoming, vice minister of transport.

The Spring Festival travel rush, also known as chunyun, lasts for 40 days from Jan 10 to Feb 18 this year. - Xinhua/Asian News Network
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