For the three consecutive years, Covid has been crushing the dreams of billions of Chinese for celebrating the Spring Festival with their families.
Previously, before the onset of the pandemic, China used to welcome around 3 million trips made to the country, especially for the New Year season, making the world’s largest yearly migration of people.
However, the virus resurgent has compelled many to cancel their travel plans for this year as well.
Due to Chinese officials pursuing a “Zero Covid strategy”, strict measures have been enforced across the country before the Winter Olympics 2022 begins.
This year, the Lunar New Year, also commonly known as the annual Spring Festival, fell on Feb 1, 2022.
The day is broadly regarded as one of the most important days to spend with friends and family. Thereby, people living abroad especially, fly back to town to spend the day with their loved ones.
As per the Chinese Ministry of Transportation estimates, around 1.18 billion trips to China will be made for this Lunar New Year.
While the figure seems too far from the previous numbers, there are still concerns that it may become a super-spreader event.
Since the pandemic’s beginning, China has been under strict monitoring and has developed a color-coded system to rule whether the citizens can travel or not. While traveling, the residents must show a green health code on their cell phones to indicate they have not been to the virus-affected areas.
China’s emphasis on pursuing a complete virus elimination policy caused several rounds of mass Covid testing across the country and sudden lockdowns.
Meanwhile, the Winter Olympics, which was set to kick off on the first day of the Lunar New Year, has increased pressure on the local officials who have been shutting downtowns to eradicate the virus from the country.
Of all, immigrant workers suffered the most, as the Spring Festival was one of the few precious days on which they got to meet their families back home. “Is it wrong for a migrant worker who toils day and night, who lives far away from home, to return to his hometown and reunite with his family during his only few days of annual holiday”- a Chinese user wrote on Weibo.