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                            No Return Travel Peak Expected as Holiday to End Soon

                            Source:chinadaily.com.cn Published:2020-02-16 13:33

                            Passengers wearing face masks arrive at the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing on Jan 30, 2020. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

                            There won't be a travel peak for returnees in a traditional sense as this year's Spring Festival travel season is coming to an end soon, according to the vice-minister of transport Liu Xiaoming.

                            As expected, the number of trips made ahead of the Spring Festival - which fell on Jan 25 this year - did have increased as expected, up 2 percent compared with the same period last year, Liu said at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office in Beijing. More than 1.14 billion trips were recorded between Jan 10 and 24, or 76.2 million trips every day, he said.

                            But the number of trips has dropped significantly since Jan 25 due to travel restrictions and quarantine aimed at containing the novel coronavirus outbreak, and has not formed any travel peaks in a traditional sense yet, he said.

                            Only a total of 283 million trips were made between Jan 25 and Feb 14, an 82.3 percent drop year-on-year, he said.

                            "Considering that the 40-day Spring Festival travel season will conclude in three days (on Feb 18), there won't be significant changes in the volume of passengers," he said. "That means the travel rush that appeared in previous years won't appear this year."

                            The total trips made during the 40-day travel season this year are expected to see a freefall of 45 percent compared with last year, and the daily number of returnees is expected to peak at 15 million, only 20 percent of the peak appearing during last year's travel season, he added.

                            The ministry's analysis shows that returnees in the coming days will be mainly migrant workers and students respectively heading back to work and school.

                            An estimated 300 million migrant workers will travel back to cities, 80 million of whom have returned. Some 120 million of them are estimated to make the trip from now to the end of February, while more than 100 million will travel in March.

                            In addition, an estimated 100 million students will make return trips, depending on when the new terms begin.

                            Liu added that their work remains challenging despite fewer travelers. He said they will step up disinfection efforts and security checks, as well as the ability to cope with rainy and snowy days. Efforts will also be made to arrange pickup services for returnees in an effort to reduce cross-infection risks.

                            China has introduced strict travel restrictions as part of the efforts to contain the coronavirus. An official has been suspended from his duties at the commerce bureau in Jingzhou, Hubei province, after he was identified as improperly taking his son back home from Tianmen, another city of the province, by abusing his personal ties, the Jingzhou city government said on Saturday.


                            Editor:Zhao Hanqing

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