Tuesday, January 31, 2023

China Urges People To Avoid Vacation Travel As COVID Cases Jump | News on the coronavirus pandemic

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China reported the most daily cases of COVID-19 in more than 10 months on Friday, as local governments and factory owners began offering incentives to millions of migrant workers nationwide to return. not in their home provinces for the Lunar New Year holidays in February. .

A total of 144 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on January 14, the National Health Commission said in a statement, up from 138 cases a day earlier and marking the largest daily increase since 202 cases were reported March 1 of last year.

The epidemic is centered in the northeast where more than 28 million people are currently under lock and key.

The commission said 135 of the new cases were local infections, including 90 in Hebei Province surrounding Beijing. Another 43 cases have been reported in northeast Heilongjiang province, with Guangxi and Shaanxi provinces each reporting one confirmed case.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China is not including as confirmed cases, fell to 66 from 78 a day earlier.

Woman scans a health QR code on her smartphone to record her visit to a market before passing the entry checkpoint, as China steps up efforts to stem a new coronavirus outbreak [Tingshu Wang/Reuters]

The outbreak is the most severe in months, and authorities are stepping up efforts to encourage people to avoid all non-essential travel during the Lunar New Year next month, when hundreds of millions of Chinese return to their hometowns. For many of the country’s 280 million migrant workers, this is the only time they can see their families in the rural provinces.

Businesses typically pay more to those who choose to work during the festival, but this year local governments and businesses are much more hoping to accept the offer, according to Reuters news agency.

Most provinces have issued notices encouraging workers to stay in place, citing the importance of tackling the epidemic and “ensuring the stability of industrial and supply chains.” They offer incentives including extra salaries, prizes, entertainment, free New Years Eve banquets, and staggered vacation arrangements.

A government notice from Ningbo, a port and industrial center in Zhejiang Province on the east coast, said that production stoppage during the Lunar New Year, given the level of foreign demand, could “cause huge losses to businesses ”.

Avoid traveling

The Chinese state planner has said he expects vacation travel “significantly lower” than normal. Authorities in southern Jiangxi province, one of the main sources of migrant workers, expect travel to account for around 60% of 2019.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus last year, after the first cases appeared in Wuhan, coincided with the Lunar New Year.

As lockdowns and travel restrictions were imposed, many found themselves trapped in their villages for months and forced into long quarantines when they finally returned to the cities.

Wang Zhishen, who works at a container factory in Dongguan, a large industrial city in the south, said he will likely stay there if his factory remains open, although he has already purchased a train ticket to Gansu province. , 2000 kilometers (1243 miles). far in the northwest.

“What if you’re unlucky and infected on the way home?” Then your whole family could get sick, ”he says.

“If my factory is not to be closed during the holidays, I think I will stay in Dongguan. Going home is too risky. “

China faces new coronavirus outbreak that started in Hebei, the province surrounding Beijing [Andy Wong/AP Photo]

For some, family reunification is always worth it.

At Beijing train station this week, Wang, a 64-year-old construction worker who preferred to share only his last name, was rushing back to his village in eastern Shandong Province before he went into lockdown. -out.

“There is no other way. We have to get back before that. We have family at home,” he said, after arriving at the station seven hours before his train left the capital.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 87,988, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,635. The country on Thursday reported its first death from coronavirus in 10 months.



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