China has ramped up its oversight of COVID-19 control work at ports and key venues as the 2022 Spring Festival travel rush is projected to be much busier than that in 2021, authorities said on Dec 29.
The upcoming travel rush for the Chinese Lunar New Year will last for 40 days from Jan 17 to Feb 25. Initial forecasts show that the number of passenger trips during the period will increase significantly from the 870 million recorded this year.
"The number will even surpass the level of 1.48 billion registered in 2020," he said. "Overall, this year's passenger volume will remain at a medium level, and the majority of trips will be made by migrant workers, students and workers returning to their hometowns."
In addition, about 80 million passenger trips are expected to be made during the New Year's Day holiday from Jan 1 to 3, he added.
He Qinghua, an official at the National Health Commission's Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, said that the risk of COVID spreading will be heightened during the New Year and Spring Festival holidays as more people return from overseas, domestic population movement increases and new variants such as the Omicron strain are likely to continue to emerge.
As part of the measures to cope with the risk, the State Council's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism recently sent 15 teams around the country to increase its oversight of COVID-19 control work during the two holidays.
National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng said the teams will inspect disease control measures at ports, the management of centralized isolation facilities, local capabilities to deliver treatment and prevent hospital-acquired infections, and virus containment measures at key venues.
As of Dec 28, China had administered nearly 2.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including about 465 million to people aged 3 to 17 years old, said He.
"More than 1.2 billion people have been fully vaccinated, accounting for around 85.6 percent of total population," he added.