China's COVID-19 control measures will also work for Omicron: Official
Guangzhou South Railway Station, south China's Guangdong Province, January 14, 2022. /CFP

Guangzhou South Railway Station, south China's Guangdong Province, January 14, 2022. /CFP

The Chinese government's measures to control COVID-19 are expected to work for the Omicron variant, said an official from the country's National Health Commission (NHC) on Saturday.

"The Omicron variant will not affect the sensitivity of the current COVID-19 test kits in China," He Qinghua, a first-level inspector of the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau at the NHC, told reporters at a regular press conference. "This judgement was made by our experts after analysis and research."

He admitted the risk of imported Omicron cases as the variant has spread around more than 150 countries across the world. And the NHC will "closely monitor the trends of COVID-19 mutation and spread" to "adjust control measures" accordingly.

"We will resolutely keep the hard-earned COVID-19 control results," he added.

Prepare for the travel rush

China is approaching its yearly travel rush of the country's biggest holiday, Spring Festival, dubbed the "chunyun," during which billions of travels will be made by the country's massive population – a big challenge for COVID-19 prevention.

This year's challenge could be bigger considering the recent resurgence of the disease in some cities in China like Tianjin and Xi'an.

An official from the transport ministry told reporters that the current focus is on two aspects: control the disease spread and safeguard transportation.

"We have decided to guide the local transport authorities to suspend intercity transport services in mid-and-high-risk areas," said Zhou Min, deputy head of the emergency office at the Ministry of Transport (MOT).

To ensure the timely delivery of vaccines, goods and other supplies, the MOT will also guide local authorities to issue temporary passes to vehicles carrying emergency supplies.

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