Hong Kong (CNN) — China is moving again. By October 1st, hundreds of millions of people are expected to pack highways, trains, and planes for a national holiday vacation, one of the busiest times to travel in the world’s most populous country.
On the national day of 2019, tourists crowd the Great Buddha of Leshan, Sichuan Province, China.
Liu Zhongjun / China News Service / VCG / Getty Images
But for now, given that China’s regional spread is near zero and some of the world’s most stringent border control measures, the virus is of much less concern to Chinese vacationers.
29-year-old Chen Qianmei from the southern city of Guangzhou flew to Shanghai for a holiday on Tuesday. She said she still took precautions but was not worried about the virus.
“I think China is controlling (virus) pretty well,” she said. “I especially wear a mask before eating and bring alcohol wipes to clean my hands. In Shanghai, few people currently wear masks.”
Chinese security personnel watch crowds on a popular pedestrian shopping street during the’Golden Week’ holiday season in Shanghai in 2017.
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The coronavirus, first discovered in Wuhan in central China in December, has been included in China since March before spreading to the world. In the following months, small outbreaks spread from time to time from the northeast to the capital Beijing and the far west of Xinjiang, but everything was quickly quarantined through rigorous containment measures and large-scale testing programs.
China has not reported cases of locally transmitted symptoms since mid-August, and it is strictly screening overseas entrants and workers at risk of exposure to the virus. Last week, two port workers unloading frozen seafood imported from Qingdao found a local asymptomatic infection for the first time in over a month after testing positive for the virus in routine tests.
Two residents walk through an empty park during the Lunar New Year holiday on January 27 in Wuhan, China.
The sense of control stands in stark contrast to the anxiety and premonition that masked the Lunar New Year holidays at the end of January, China’s last major travel period. At the time, the coronavirus was sweeping Wuhan after local authorities initially silenced medical workers trying to sound an alarm. Two days before New Year’s Day, the Chinese government ordered an unprecedented city blockade, but by that time hundreds of millions of Chinese people headed home for family reunions or vacation abroad.
However, the center encourages travelers to follow local epidemic control measures, wear masks on trains, planes, and crowded areas, and stay 1 meter (3.2 feet) away from tourist destinations, the last of which can be difficult, if not impossible to observe. . , Considering the size of the crowd that frequently floods popular sites during Chinese holidays.
Last week, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China ordered tourist attractions to limit their capacity to 75% from 50% of the previous month during Golden Week. To facilitate contact tracking, visitors must register online in advance.
On September 3rd, tourists wearing masks line up in front of the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan, China.
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Domestic travel boost
Chinese authorities, including China’s CDC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have urged Chinese citizens to avoid unnecessary travel abroad, citing a violent epidemic around the world.
Chinese tourists await the tour bus at Ginza shopping street in Tokyo, Japan on October 2, 2019.
Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty Images AsiaPac / Getty Images
However, this year, various visa restrictions and quarantine requirements are imposed around the world, and international travel will be virtually impossible due to the lack of international flights. Upon returning to China, travelers must undergo strict quarantine for two weeks, during which at least half of this period must be spent at hotels designated by the government.
The only exception is Macau, which waived the quarantine requirement in July for mainland travelers who had a negative test result for coronavirus within 7 days. Last week, mainland China has fully resumed tourist visas for semi-autonomous regions on a national holiday.
Tourists take a selfie at the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan on September 3, 2020.
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