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As Lunar New Year begins, China's multitudes stay home

Travel projected to plunge 60% from normal year over fear of virus spread

A woman waits in the departure hall of Beijing South Railway station ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI -- With the weeklong Lunar New Year break set to begin Thursday in China, holiday travel is on track to be down sharply compared to typical year before the coronavirus pandemic hit, raising concern that consumer spending in the country will suffer a blow.

"We had planned to go on a trip with more than 10 family members, but we called it off this year," said a company worker in Shanghai. Her family had arranged to travel to cottage country in Zhejiang Province.

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