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As lockdown eases in China, 117 million people expected to hit the roads again

As lockdown eases in China, 117 million people expected to hit the roads again

Saad Ali Rana
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China is gearing up for its first national holiday after months of lockdowns, with authorities lowering the emergency response level for Beijing just in time to allow freer travel.

On Wednesday, authorities announced a downgrade of the emergency response level governing Hebei province and the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin, from Thursday, reports The Guardian. The relaxation comes on the eve of the five-day national Labour Day holiday, and triggered an immediate jump in tourism-related bookings, although numbers were still well below the same period last year.

The Chinese ministry of transport said it expected 117 million people to travel during the holiday.

According to the Chinese travel booking app Qunar, within 30 minutes of the announcement of Beijing’s emergency downgrade, flight bookings for leaving the city rose by 15 times previous levels, with people mostly heading to Chengdu, Chongqing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Changsha. Authorities also reopened the Forbidden City in Beijing for the first time since the lockdown, to a reduced number of 5,000 visitors per day. Within 12 hours of going on sale, tickets for all five days of the holiday had sold out.

Also read: Airport turned into drive-in cinema streams Parasite during pandemic

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