More Chinese stay home during the 3-day Qingming holiday as COVID hits

Empty roads seen in Shanghai's financial center Lujiazui as COVID-19 cases emerge, Shanghai, China, March 28, 2022. /CFP

More Chinese decided to stay home during this year's three-day Qingming Festival holiday, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day, as COVID-19 cases spiraled in the country.

On Monday, the first day of the holiday, the total number of passengers transported by railways, highways, waterways and civil aviation dropped 62.6 percent compared with last year, standing at 19.03 million, data from the Ministry of Transportation showed.

According to the Ministry, the volume even decreased 2.5 percent from the first day of the Qingming holiday in 2020, the year in which the epidemic broke.

Traditionally, Qingming is a festival for Chinese people to visit the graves of deceased family members and commemorate their ancestors.

A flare-up of COVID-19 cases in the country has forced authorities to impose lockdowns and discourage people from traveling out of cities and provinces.

According to data from the National Health Commission, the Chinese mainland recorded 1,405 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with 1,366 linked to local transmissions and 39 from overseas.

A total of 11,862 new asymptomatic cases were also recorded on Sunday, and 83,364 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation.