China New Year Migration Chaos Amid Virus Outbreak

by Darshit Singh 4 years ago Views 2855

China New Year Migration Chaos Amid Virus Outbreak
World’s biggest human migration season is ongoing in China where the government estimates people will take three billion trips to celebrate the Lunar New Year Spring Festival.

The Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival starts on the new moon which appears between January 21 and February 20 and is China’s most important holiday, where citizens celebrate values like unity and family ties. 

About 20% of China’s population lives in rural areas but travel to cities for work and many of them head home for the holiday. For many migrant workers, this is their only chance to enjoy some leisure time at home. Additional congestion is expected since the holiday overlaps with university students’ winter holidays.

Traditionally, the celebrations go on for 16 days. However, the 40-day official travel season (Jan 10 -Feb 18) known as 'Chunyun' now has the Chinese authorities on edge amid an outbreak of a SARS-like virus in China’s seventh-largest city - Wuhan.

The government has put three cities (home to 20 million people), Huanggang, Ezhou, and Wuhan, in central China on lockdown, asking citizens to travel only if necessary. 17 people have died and more than 570 have contracted the disease.

China’s railways expect 440 million trips to take place while 79 million passengers are expected to take flights. In comparison, the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca usually includes about 2 million people and 2019 Kumbh Mela hosted around 150 million pilgrims. 

About seven million Chinese traveled abroad during the festival season in 2019. Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam are popular overseas destinations for the Chinese.

Zodiacs change every Chinese New Year, this year is the year of the Metal Rat. Chinese zodiacs are determined by the year a person born and not the month. Those with the same zodiacs are believed to have similar personalities and fates for the year. 

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