Beijing calls for fewer vacation trips to reduce Covid-19 risks during Olympics

Reuters. – Beijing said on Saturday it was advising its residents not to leave the city during the holiday season in early 2022, as part of efforts to reduce the risks of the coronavirus during the Winter Olympics.

In a statement, it said the Chinese capital is ready to “ensure that there are no local injuries, the successful organization of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics, and the public have a happy and peaceful holiday.”

In addition to encouraging people not to take unnecessary trips out of town, it will also invite some online meetings, according to the statement.

Wu Shiping, an official with China State Railways Group, said Saturday that he expects a “relatively significant” increase in train passengers during the 40-day travel season for the Lunar New Year holiday from 2021 levels.

In pre-pandemic times, the period of travel was often described as the world’s largest annual migration, with hundreds of millions of migrant workers returning from China to their cities of origin.

Liang Wanyan, an official with the National Health Commission, said there should not be a one-size-fits-all rule in China, and local governments must balance people’s need to be reunited with their families and control of Covid-19.

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But he said Beijing and regions with a high risk of the virus, such as those with border cities and ports, should have stricter rules. And groups most at risk, such as the elderly, should avoid non-essential travel and meetings, Liang added.

The number of recent COVID-19 cases in China is low compared to many countries, and daily infections tend to be fewer than 100 locally transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms.

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