China says virus control top priority during upcoming holiday travel rush
China's top economic planner said on Friday that COVID-19 prevention and control will be the top priority in the upcoming Spring Festival travel rush.
"As the COVID-19 pandemic rages globally, China faces sporadic and cluster cases, meaning that the epidemic prevention and control situation remains very severe and complicated," Lian Weiliang, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a teleconference on the travel rush that spans from January 28 to March 8.
Lian said a forecasted drop in passenger transport demand also means the primary focus of officials during the travel rush further shifts to epidemic prevention and control, instead of transport capacity.
Given a nearly 60-percent drop year on year in train ticket bookings, China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. has lowered its railway trip forecast to 296 million for the travel rush, Li Wenxin, deputy general manager of the national railway operator, said at the conference.
The operator had previously predicted 407 million railway passenger trips for this year's holiday season.
Lian urged efforts to promote the universal and mutual recognition of health codes certifications to meet people's essential travel needs.
The color-based code can determine people's exposure risks and freedom of movement based on factors like travel history, duration of time spent in risky areas, and relationships to potential carriers.
(Cover: Shanghai Hongqiao railway station, January 21, 2021. /CFP)