Hong Kong (CNN) – China is on the move again. As October 1 approaches, hundreds of millions of people are expected to pack up highways, trains and planes for the National Day holiday, one of the busiest in the world’s most populous country. It’s time.
During the National Day holiday in 2019, visitors flock to the Lishan Giant Buddha in China’s Sichuan Province.
Liu Zhongjun / China News Service / VCG / Getty Images
But for now, the virus is of little concern to Chinese holidaymakers, despite its proximity to China, local broadcasts and some of the world’s toughest border control measures.
Chen Qianmi, 29, from the southern city of Guangzhou, left for Shanghai on Tuesday for her vacation. He said he was not worried about the virus, although he still took precautions.
“I think China (the virus) is under very good control,” he said. “I wear a mask to clean my hands and bring alcohol wipes with me, especially before meals – although in Shanghai, fewer people now wear masks.”
Chinese security guards monitor a crowd on a popular pedestrian shopping street during the ‘Golden Week’ holiday in Shanghai in 2017.
By ATP Ally / AFP / ATP Getty Images
Demonstration of faith
The coronavirus, which was discovered in December last year before spreading around the world in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has been at sea in much of China since March. In the months that followed, small-to-large footsteps erupted several times – from the country’s northeast to the capital Beijing and the far western region of Xinjiang, but were quickly incorporated by all sharp lockout measures and public testing programs.
China has not reported any locally transmitted symptoms since mid-August and is closely monitoring the risk of exposure to workers arriving abroad. Last week, it detected its first local asymptomatic infections in more than a month, when two port workers in Qingdao tested positive for the virus in a routine check after selling frozen seafood.
Two residents walk in an empty park during the Lunar New Year holiday on January 27 in Wuhan, China.
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The sense of control is the exact opposite of the anxiety and hindrance that has given China the last major trip period – the Lunar New Year holiday in late January. At the time, the coronavirus outbreak was spreading in Wuhan when local authorities initially silenced healthcare workers in an attempt to sound the alarm. Two days before Lunar New Year’s Day, the Chinese government ordered an unprecedented lockout of the city, but by then, the virus had already spread to other provinces and the country, as millions of Chinese people joined their families. Were or were on vacation abroad.
But the center still recommends that travelers follow local epidemic control measures, wear masks on trains, flights and congested areas, and maintain a distance of 1 meter (3.2 feet) in tourist spots. The last of which may be difficult if not impossible to believe, given the size of the crowds that often visit popular sites during the Chinese holidays.
Last week, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism ordered tourist destinations to be limited to 75% during the Golden Week, up from 50% in previous months. To facilitate contact tracing, visitors must register online in advance.
Visitors wearing face masks stand outside the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan, China on September 3.
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Domestic travel boost
Chinese officials – including the Chinese CDC and the Foreign Ministry – have urged Chinese citizens to refrain from unnecessary foreign travel, citing the ongoing epidemic around the world.
Chinese travelers wait for their tour bus on October 2, 2019 in Ginza Shopping District, Tokyo, Japan.
Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty Images Asiapack / Getty Images
But this year, traveling abroad will be completely impossible, due to the various visa restrictions and quarantine requirements imposed around the world, as well as the lack of international flights. Upon returning to China, travelers will also face two weeks of strict quarantine – to spend at least half of their time in government-appointed hotels.
The only exception is Macau, which waived different requirements in July for mainland travelers who received a negative test for coronavirus within seven days. Last week, mainland China completely resumed tourist visas for the semi-autonomous region during the National Day holiday.
Travelers take selfies on September 3, 2020 at Wuhan’s Yellow Crane Tower.
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