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Threat of fresh COVID surge freezes China's annual travel rush

Experts question need for heavy restrictions on travel, while local authorities fret

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport: China's Transport Ministry expects only about a third as many people to travel during the Lunar New Year holiday this year as did so in 2019.   © Reuters

For Ma Changjiang, Wang Juan and many of the 300 million other migrant workers in China, there will be no once-a-year trip home to celebrate the 2021 Lunar New Year, due to restrictions aimed at preventing a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ma, a plasterer working in southern China's Guangdong Province, scrubbed his 1,000-mile trip home to northern China's Hebei Province before the start of this year's holiday on Feb. 12. He cited the rigorous quarantine and testing restrictions imposed by his village, which is about 1 km from Nangong, one of the cities in Hebei with the highest level of risk in a recent outbreak.

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