Chinese well-prepared to stay put for Spring Festival

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The Chinese government has been encouraging the public to celebrate Spring Festival from home this year as COVID-19 continues to cause concern despite being largely contained in the country.

Many this year didn’t travel back to their hometown, breaking with tradition. And the decision to stay put was not easy.

“I didn’t return home last year as I was preparing my graduation thesis. When I told my mom, she felt depressed. So, I don’t know how to tell her this year,” Zhao Haitian, a postgraduate student, told CGTN.

The man cited the coronavirus and his startup as reasons for not making the usual trip back home this year.

He’d been building up the courage to tell his mother, and once he did, the reply came calm and considerate.

“No problem, don’t worry about me,” Zhao’s mother told him during a video call, bringing a sense of relief to the worried man.

Zhao said the response was “unexpected” as he had anticipated his mother would cry or blame him. “I really appreciate this,” he said.

With an uncommon number of holidaymakers marking the occasion in the cities where they work or study, logistics and transportation services are scrambling to keep up with intracity travel. Shopping and entertainment businesses are also adjusting to respond to increased demand for recreational activities during the seven-day holiday, which began on February 11.

According to the Ministry of Transport, over one billion passenger trips were expected to be made during the 40-day Spring Festival travel rush lasting until March 8, a year-on-year decline of 20 percent and more than 60 percent lower than that in 2019.

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The civil aviation sector was expected to handle over 500,000 passenger trips, a year-on-year drop of over 70 percent. Meanwhile, the country’s railway network was expected to handle some four million passenger trips, down 60 percent from last year.

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