Post-Spring Festival trips take a major dip

  • China
  • Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020

Close scrutiny: A traffic officer checking body temperatures of passengers in a car entering a Beijing expressway. — China Daily/ANN

BEIJING: There will be no peak period during this year’s 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, which will end today, due to the ongoing Covid-19 (novel coronavirus), the Ministry of Transport said.

Because of measures taken to curb the epidemic, passenger trips in the 40 days from Jan 10 to today are expected to be less than half the number in the 40-day travel rush last year, with the decrease especially sharp during the return leg that started on Jan 25, Vice-Minister of Transport Liu Xiaoming said.

As a growing number of people take various modes of transport to return to work after the Lunar New Year holiday, many overseas observers have expressed concern about the pressure the mass migration will place on the country’s epidemic prevention and control efforts.

However, ministry statistics show that only 283 million trips were made between Jan 25 and Friday, down 82.3% year-on-year, as a result of travel restrictions and quarantine aimed at containing the spread of the virus.

The period for return trips will be longer this year, with much lower peak passenger flows than in previous years, Liu said, adding that the daily number of return trips is expected to be maintained at 15 million, only 20% of passenger volumes during last year’s travel rush.

“Considering that the 40-day Spring Festival travel rush is going to end today, there won’t be significant changes in the volume of passenger trips, ” he said.

“It means the travel peak that appeared in previous years won’t be seen this time.”

The country’s daily new confirmed cases of Covid-19 pneumonia outside Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, have been dropping for 12 days, the National Health Commission said on Sunday.

Citing ministry analysis, Liu said the country would gradually see migrant workers return to work and students go back to schools in the coming days. — China Daily/ANN

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