Editorial Notes

Detailed plan key to keep Covid-19 at bay during Spring Festival break: China Daily editorial

The paper says that the Chinese government will need to have a comprehensive plan and execute it effective for combating the deluge of people returning home for the Spring Festival.

Security personnel next to the residential communities surrounding Renji Hospital under lockdown in Shanghai on Jan 24, 2021. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The capacity for passengers needs to be strictly controlled for all transport means during the Spring Festival holiday to effectively prevent clusters of novel coronavirus infections from resurging during the peak travel period, which will last for about two weeks from early February to later that month. A plan is therefore necessary to that effect.

It is with these objectives in mind that the State Council, China's cabinet, has released a plan that requires migrant workers travelling home to be organised into groups, with their schedules staggered so that the intensity of passengers on trains and other means of transport is lessened so as to reduce the chances of the virus spreading.

Those provinces that export a large number of rural labourers are also required to establish systems to track their movements during the holiday.

The plan also instructs that college students going home for the holiday should be organised in the same manner. In this way, the capacity for passengers will be strictly controlled to a reasonable limit for all transport means.

At the same time, scenic spots are required to set limits on the number of daily visitors they receive to ensure that social distancing can be practised.

However, making a plan is one thing, implementing the plan to the letter is another. Painstaking efforts are needed on the part of local governments to put the plan into practice.

Detailed implementation plans must be made and different departments must cooperate to coordinate the staggered travelling schedules.

Extra control and prevention measures must also be put into place on the various means of transport. Social distancing must be observed by all during a journey, and face masks must be mandatory for all travellers. Disinfectants must be provided for travelers' use.

It is estimated that 1.7 billion trips will be made during the holiday, much fewer than normal during the Spring Festival holiday, but still the number of travellers will exert heavy pressure on efforts to prevent and control the spread of the virus.

In light of this, local governments should step up their efforts to encourage people to stay where they work for the holiday. Enterprises should provide extra subsidies for their workers to stay behind for the festival.

For individual residents, it is important the required rules for the prevention and control of the virus are observed. Everyone must have the awareness that their cooperation matters to contain the virus.

Penalties must be given to those who flout the prevention and control measures. Those who place their own will and interest above those of others must pay the price for their selfishness.

China Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 24 news media organisations.

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