China's COVID-19 pandemic enters low level, no new strain found
China's COVID-19 situation has entered a "low pandemic level" and infections across the country have maintained a downward trend, Chinese health authorities said on Monday.
As more people return to cities after the Spring Festival holiday, it is necessary to enhance regular COVID-19 prevention and control for public transport and other crowded places. Individuals should keep wearing personal protections, said Mi Feng, a spokesman for the National Health Commission.
"Rural areas remain the top priority in the nation's current COVID-19 prevention and control," Mi told the first press conference of the State Council joint COVID-19 prevention and control mechanism after the weeklong Spring Festival holiday.
Multiple Chinese ministries and authorities released their latest statistics during the January 21-27 holiday.
Key points at the press briefing:
- No new imported COVID-19 variant has been found in China. The Omicron BA.5.2 and BF.7 remain the main strains in the current round of the pandemic, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
- There was no rise in COVID-19 infections in rural areas during the festival, when a huge number of people returned to their hometowns for family reunion, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said.
- A total of 71,000 foreigners came to China during the holiday, more than double that in 2022. Some 741,000 people from the Chinese mainland traveled overseas during the same period, a 93.7 percent increase to that of last year, per the National Immigration Administration.
- Retail and catering businesses saw a 6.8 percent on-year boost during the holiday, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
- A total of 226 million people traveled via the railway, highway, waterway and aviation during the holiday, a 71.2 percent increase on year but 46.4 percent lower than the pre-COVID-19 level in 2019, the Ministry of Transport revealed.