Authorities discourage Spring Festival travel

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A student pastes the Chinese character “Fu” meaning good fortune on the door of his dormitory in Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, Shaanxi province, on Jan 19, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Party and Cabinet urge people to spend the vacation where they work and live

As more confirmed and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 have been reported in some Chinese provinces and cities, a notice has strongly recommended people avoid nonessential travel during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

Measures will be taken to ensure people can have a safe, healthy and happy holiday, said the notice, which was released recently by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, the country’s Cabinet.

The Spring Festival holiday, which lasts from Feb 11 to 17 this year, is a traditional Chinese festival when people return home to reunite with family. However, considering the current situation, people are advised not to travel and to instead celebrate the festival where they work and live.

“Particularly in areas with high risks of COVID-19 outbreak, all people should spend the holiday locally and reduce travel to the minimum,” the notice said.

It added that people working for government organs and State-owned enterprises should take the lead in staying put, and migrant workers and college students who have yet to return to their hometowns should be guided to stay as well.

The notice said online and offline stores and supermarkets, as well as express companies, especially those in big cities, will be supported to stay open during the holiday, so that people’s needs will be well met.

Internet and television programs on culture and sports should be increased during the holiday and companies are encouraged to offer free access to the internet and online movies, it said.

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In low-risk areas, libraries, museums, theaters, parks and stadiums can be open to meet people’s needs for diverse activities, but with a provision that measures on the control and prevention of COVID-19 should be strictly applied, it added.

To help reduce nonessential travel and lower the risk of the virus spreading, the Civil Aviation Administration of China released a notice on Tuesday saying that tickets for flights from Jan 28 to March 8 can be returned or changed once without extra charge.

At the same time, some provinces, cities and regions have come up with attractive offers to encourage people to stay put during the holiday.

In Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Hefei, Anhui province, Suzhou, Jiangsu province, and Tianjin, governments promised to provide a subsidy of up to 2,000 yuan ($309) per person to people who remain in the city during the holiday.

Trade unions in Fujian province announced they will offer free psychological services, physical examinations and diagnosis for people from other provinces who work in Fujian and choose to spend the holiday there.

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