China sees rise in railway trips ahead of Spring Festival

BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- China saw a 27.3-percent year-on-year increase in railway passenger trips made during the 15 days ahead of this year's Spring Festival, which falls on Sunday, according to the national railway operator.

A high-speed train runs in Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province, October 3, 2020. (Photo: CFP)

From Jan. 7 to Jan. 21, 109.5 million trips were made by train, 23.5 million more than last year's pre-festival period, data from China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. shows.

In the past two years, most Chinese people stayed put during the festival amid virus curbs, but the country's shift in COVID-19 response has brought a change.

The total number of passenger trips for this year's 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, which began on Jan. 7, is expected to reach 2.1 billion, almost twice as much as last year or 70.3 percent of the 2019 reading, according to the Ministry of Transport.

The growing travel demand is a result of China's recent downgrading of COVID-19 management from Class A to Class B.

Under Class B management, travelers no longer need to present health codes and negative nucleic acid test results or undergo temperature checks when entering railway stations and airports.