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Lunar New Year Holiday Trips Within China Surge After Lifting COVID Restrictions

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Lunar New Year Holiday Trips Within China Surge After Lifting COVID Restrictions

(CTN News) – According to official media, China made 226 million domestic journeys for the Lunar New Year vacation, an increase of 74% from the previous year after the government abolished all travel restrictions imposed under its now-abandoned zero-Covid policy.

Chinese citizens may travel without worry or bother for the first time in three years during the most significant holiday when families reconnect in their hometowns to celebrate the new year or go on vacation together.

This week-long vacation concluded on Friday and saw the most visits completed inside China since 2020. They cover all types of travel, such as vehicles, trains, and boats.

The number was still much below pre-pandemic levels, however. Over the holiday in 2019, 421 million domestic travels were made.

Due to the pent-up desire for travel, China’s tourism sites, from the sunny beaches on Hainan island to the historic towns in the mountainous Yunnan region, were overrun with tourists throughout the vacation.

After China’s borders were officially reopened earlier this month, international travel increased dramatically.

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According to the National Immigration Administration, 2.88 million visits were made over the border for the Lunar New Year vacation, an increase of 120% from the previous year.

12.53 million cross-border journeys were undertaken in 2019 over the Lunar New Year vacation, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Following widespread demonstrations about strict lockdowns and Covid testing, the Chinese government unexpectedly ended its expensive zero-Covid program in December.

The infection spread quickly throughout the nation after the unexpected removal of limitations, catching the healthcare establishment off guard.

Hospitals and cemeteries were overburdened, leaving locals scrambling for fever and antiviral medications.

It is difficult to determine the severity and breadth of the enormous epidemic since once-common Covid testing has largely been abandoned and the government has ceased reporting most illnesses.

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Chinese health officials recently revealed more precise epidemic statistics that show the outbreak has already peaked amid worldwide criticism of China’s restricted data release.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday that recorded clinic visits on January 23 had decreased 96.2% from a month earlier when cases were at their highest.

In contrast to more than 6.9 million on December 22, just 15,000 persons tested positive for Covid through PCR testing on January 23, according to the CDC data.

It’s unclear how much testing has changed during that period, which might impact those numbers, or how many individuals have been affected since China shifted away from zero-Covid in early December.

Wu Zunyou, the head epidemiologist of the CDC, said on January 21 that 80% of the nation had already had the disease.

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The number of Covid deaths that are formally recorded is also dropping.

According to the CDC, China recorded 6,364 Covid-related fatalities between January 20 and January 26, which is approximately half of the 12,658 deaths reported a week earlier.

Following growing criticism over its lack of openness, particularly from the World Health Organization, China altered its unduly restrictive method of tracking Covid fatalities earlier this month.

Instead of only calculating deaths due to respiratory failure, it now considers the deaths of Covid patients with underlying illnesses.

Related CTN News:

COVID Death Toll Rises During Lunar Holiday In China

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