China strengthens epidemic preparedness and response for Spring Festival to ensure safe travels
China will step up epidemic prevention and control during the upcoming Spring Festival travel rush and strengthen emergency response, in an effort to ensure safe travels for the public, the State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Dec 30.
"China takes seriously uncertainties in the epidemic situation in winter," Premier Li said. "Spring Festival is a traditional holiday of the Chinese nation, and people strongly wish to travel. Effective preparedness and response should be ensured during Spring Festival travel season, and guidance provided for staggered travel in an orderly and safe manner."
The meeting agreed that as Spring Festival approaches, in light of the potentially higher risk in the epidemic situation due to the large-scale movement of people, it is important to ensure effective work in staggered transport arrangements, and epidemic preparedness and response.
Transport capacity should be properly dispatched, in support of local guidelines on non-essential travel restrictions, staggered holiday schedules and school reopening, as well as daily caps on scenic spot reservations. Staggered travel should be encouraged and guided.
Coverage of rural bus services will be extended. Two-way chartered coach services for migrant workers' trips between cities and hometowns will be provided as needed.
"It is necessary to cut 'travel peaks' to the extent possible and avoid mass gathering through such means as ticket booking and more transportation options. Emergency response plans on all fronts should be refined," Premier Li said.
Epidemic prevention and control standards for the Spring Festival travel season should be rigorously implemented. Transportation-related preparedness and response plans should be formulated, and requirements regarding passenger and cargo transportation specified.
"Contactless" ticket sales and security check measures such as electronic tickets and identification card swiping verification should be promoted. Convenient services should be provided to senior citizens in case smart technology is inaccessible.
"The State Council's inter-agency task force should set up a special working team to facilitate competent departments to fulfill responsibilities and oversee effective coordination. There should be better coordination among highway, waterway, railway and aviation services to ensure safe and smooth travels," the Premier said.