BEIJING: Several Chinese cities went on high COVID-19 alert as the Chinese New Year holiday travel season started on Monday (Jan 17), requiring travellers to report their trips days before their arrival, as the Omicron variant reached more areas including Beijing.
Authorities have warned the highly contagious Omicron adds to the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission as hundreds of millions of people travel around China for the Chinese New Year holiday starting at the end of the month.
Cities such as Luoyang in the central China and Jieyang in the south said on Sunday travellers need to report to communities, employers or hotels their trips three days ahead of arrival.
The southwestern city of Yulin said on Saturday those who want to enter should fill in a digital form including their health credentials and trip details one day in advance.
Over the weekend, the capital Beijing and the southern technology hub each detected one domestically transmitted Omicron case. So far, at least five provinces and municipalities reported local Omicron infections, while 14 provincial areas found the variant among travellers arriving from overseas.
China is yet to show any solid sign of shifting its guideline of quickly containing any local infections, despite a high vaccination rate of 86.6 per cent. The strategy has taken on extra urgency in the run-up to the Winter Olympics, to be staged in Beijing and neighbouring Hebei province starting Feb 4.