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China restricts travel for busy Lunar New Year

People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus wait to cross an intersection in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. China is now dealing with coronavirus outbreaks across its frigid northeast, prompting additional lockdowns and travel bans. (AP Photo)

BEIJING — China is imposing some of its toughest travel restrictions yet as coronavirus cases surge in several northern provinces ahead of the Lunar New Year.

Next month’s festival is the most important time of the year for family gatherings in China, and for many migrant workers it is often the only time they are able to return to their rural homes.

This year, however, travelers must have a negative virus test within seven days of departure, and many local governments are ordering quarantines and other strict measures on travelers.

A national health official had this message Wednesday for Chinese citizens: “Do not travel or have gatherings unless it’s necessary.”

Officials are predicting Chinese will make 1.7 billion trips during the travel rush. That is down 40% from 2019. (AP)


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