Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Saturday underscored the importance of smooth logistics and transportation, safe production and epidemic prevention as the Spring Festival travel rush kicked off after the world's most populous country adjusted its COVID-19 response.
Authorities should undertake deep research and analysis on epidemic response and make all-out efforts to ensure the travel order and encourage people to travel in a staggered manner, Liu said when inspecting preparations for the travel rush in Beijing.
Smooth transport and logistics should be placed in a more prominent place and the transport of materials such as energy, food, medicine and daily necessities must be ensured, Liu said.
Efforts should be made to intensify the supervision of workplace safety and enhance the emergency response during the travel rush to limit the impact of heavy passenger flow and extreme weather, he said, adding that authorities should prevent and contain major and serious accidents.
The Spring Festival travel rush, also known as "chunyun," is widely seen as the largest annual human migration worldwide. It lasts for 40 days, from January 7 to February 15 this year.
Hundreds of millions of people typically swarm train stations, airports and coach terminals across the country for family reunions on the Lunar New Year's eve, which falls on January 21.
In the past two years, most Chinese people stayed put amid virus curbs during the festival, but a stark change has begun to emerge.
The number of passenger trips during this year's Spring Festival travel rush is expected to surge 99.5 percent from the same period last year to reach nearly 2.1 billion, Xu Chengguang, vice minister of transport, said at a news briefing on Friday.
On December 7, 2022, China adjusted its virus prevention and control policies with 10 new measures, shifting the policy focus from infection prevention to severe cases prevention.
In its latest move, the country on Sunday downgraded the management of COVID-19 from Class A to Class B.
This shift is expected to make it much easier for people to travel and enter public venues, as passengers no longer need to present their health codes and negative nucleic acid test results or undergo temperature checks when entering railway stations and airports.
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(With input from Xinhua)