China plans to impose strict COVID testing requirements during the Lunar New Year holiday season, the county’s most important annual festival, because tens of millions of people are expected to travel to visit family members. The worst wave of new infections since March 2020 is running. A sudden rise in cases has alarmed officials. Millions of residents in Hebei province surrounding Beijing, the northeastern Jilin province and Heilongjiang have been put into lockdown in recent weeks. Authorities are asking people to stay home during the Lunar New Year holidays in February. In a notice posted online, China’s National Health Commission said people returning to rural areas from other provinces over the Lunar New Year period would have to produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within seven days.
The country builds a massive quarantine camp that can house more than 4,000 people in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province. The first section of the camp is now complete and ready for use. Authorities continue an extensive contact tracing and testing program. To date, more than 17 million people have been tested in Hebei. The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 88,557, while the official death toll is 4,635.