The Chinese government is high on alert as the Lunar New Year holiday travel season starts on Monday. Cities are now requiring travelers to report their trips days before their arrival due to the surge of the Omicron variant in the country.
Authorities also warned that the omicron variant increased the risk of COVID-19 transmission due to the fact that hundreds of millions of people travel around China for the Lunar New Year that will take place on Feb. 1st.
The cities obligating these regulations include Luoyang in central China and Jieyang in the south. Authorities in these cities said on Sunday that travelers need to report to communities, employers, or hotels their trips three days ahead of arrival.
Another city in the southwestern city of Yulin made it known earlier on Saturday that whoever wants to come into the city needs to fill an online form which will also include their health credentials, and trip details a day in advance.
China continues its aggressive zero-tolerance for COVID-19 while the country capital, Beijing, and the southern tech hub Shenzhen each detected one domestically transmitted Omixron case over the weekend.
In an attempt to clean the country off COVID-19, officials are suggesting that the case in Beijing could be through imported goods. Pang Xinghuo who is an official at the city’s disease control authority made this suggestion on Monday.
Also, the director at the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, Li Ang said a local hospital had admitted nine Omicron cases were reported with six still being treated. When the infections arrived weren’t stated.
The city of Meizhou in Guangdong province found one Omicron infection linked to an outbreak in Zhuhai, state television said on Monday.
About five provinces and municipalities also reported local cases of Omicron infections while about 14 provincial areas also found the variant among travelers arriving from overseas.
China is yet to show any solid sign of shifting its guideline of quickly containing any local infections, despite a high vaccination rate of 86.6%. The strategy has taken on extra urgency in the run-up to the Winter Olympics, to be staged in Beijing and neighboring Hebei province starting Feb. 4th.
However, local authorities have advised residents to not leave their homes unnecessarily during the holiday period while dozens of international and domestic flights were also suspended.
China’s aviation regulator said on Monday it would suspend two flights from the United States over COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of canceled flights this year from the country, where Omicron is spreading, to 76.
China reported 163 locally transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms for Sunday according to official data. The increase was driven by more cases in the cities of Tianjin and Anyang where Omicron was found in local clusters.
Tianjin and Anyang reported slightly more than 600 local symptomatic infections from the current outbreaks, smaller than many clusters overseas, but authorities there still have limited movement within the cities and trips to outside.