BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- China will take more stringent epidemic prevention and control measures amid higher risks of COVID-19 contagion during this winter-spring period, especially the upcoming Spring Festival holiday.
Efforts will be made to stagger travels and encourage online shopping during the holiday, and the winter vacation schedule and commencement of the spring semester for schools will be arranged carefully, said Zeng Yixin, deputy head of the National Health Commission, at a press conference on Saturday.
Zeng called on people not to return to their hometowns to celebrate the Spring Festival, but stay where they live and work during the holiday to reduce personnel flow.
The Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, falls on Feb. 12 this year.
Epidemic prevention and control measures against gathering, including banquets, parties and meetings, as well as visits to scenic spots will also be beefed up, according to the official.
Zeng also stressed the necessity of taking self-protection measures, such as washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing.