Millions of Chinese head home to countryside despite Xi’s Covid worries
Millions of Chinese residents are headed back home for the Chinese New Year despite President Xi Jinping’s worries about Covid spreading through rural areas.
Xi said he was “concerned” about the countryside’s ability to handle a surge in Covid infections, but China’s transport authorities are predicting more than two billion trips will be made this month and into next month.
According to Hong Kong Free Press, the mass exodus of Chinese from large cities to rural areas is widely expected to cause a spike in cases in such under-resourced areas. Officials furthered that 480 million people have travelled across the country since January 7, an enormous increase compared with the same period last year.
Some told Agence France-Presse, that they haven’t been home in 10 years. One Shanghai-based worker named Chen was headed home to the southeastern city of Wenzhou.
“I don’t care anymore, that’s how I feel. Last year I was so careful, and this year I feel much braver.”
Another traveller, Ren, says he feels the same way.
“I wanted to be with my family. It doesn’t matter if I have money or not, I want to go see them. Something that I’ll definitely do when I go home is give my mum and dad a hug.”
But other travellers appeared more concerned about the virus. Two young women said they were worried about the virus spreading during the Chinese New Year travel rush as well as the virus affecting their families.
The government, however, has taken notice of the gloomy feelings surrounding the holidays and saying it would increase efforts to quell such emotions online about the outbreak. Xi also expressed the need to address under-resourced areas.
“Epidemic prevention and control has entered a new stage, and we are still in a period that requires great efforts.”
Last Saturday, China reported almost 60,000 Covid-related deaths in just over one month’s time. It was the first major report since the country cancelled its Zero-Covid policy.
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