BEIJING (Sputnik) - Wang Bin, an official with the Chinese National Health Commission, on Wednesday called on the country’s citizens to avoid unnecessary travel during the Lunar New Year festival to prevent worsening of the COVID-19 situation.
Lunar New Year falls on February 12 this year, and the 40-day Spring Festival to celebrate it, known locally as Chunjie, starts on January 28.
"I want to take this opportunity and, via the media, urge residents of the country to try not to make trips that are not absolutely necessary," Wang said, adding that people should wear masks, avoid mass gatherings and adhere to social distancing measures in case if they decide to travel during festivities.
The health official added that the authorities expect that the number of Chinese citizens wishing to return to their home country from abroad may increase during the festive season.
Wang also called on citizens to visit the nearest health center in case they show COVID-19 symptoms.
Meanwhile, Feng Zijian, the deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the government developed necessary measures to prevent new outbreaks during the Spring Festival which increases the risk of the spread of COVID-19.
"To respond to these risks, the government already developed measures to prevent the epidemic for the winter and spring, in order to prevent the epidemic from spreading again. When these measures are implemented, it can be ensured that a new large-scale wave of the epidemic does not arise," Feng said at a press conference.
According to Feng, local outbreaks and isolated COVID-19 cases in China are a consequence of the worsening global pandemic.
China on Wednesday confirmed 115 COVID-19 cases, the biggest rise since late July, and the majority of infections are linked to an outbreak in the northern Hebei province near Beijing. The authorities responded by introducing lockdown in parts of the province.
Feng said that China gathered a lot of knowledge about COVID-19 during the year of the fight against the pandemic and focuses on immediate detection and control of cases. The health official added that the Spring Festival will be "a big test" for China’s COVID-19 response measures.