In a regular year, hundreds of millions of people travel by plane, train and car to be with their families for the Lunar New Year, which begins Feb. 12.
This year, the authorities imposed onerous quarantine and testing rules to dissuade roughly 300 million migrant workers from traveling home.
People returning to rural areas during the holiday must spend two weeks in quarantine and pay for their own coronavirus tests.
Many migrants, who work at low-paying jobs, say the restrictions make it impossible to travel.
The tightened rules have drawn criticism, with many calling the approach unfair to the workers, who have already been among the most affected by the pandemic.
The holiday is normally the only time that many of them can return to their hometowns.
With gift baskets and discounts, access to better schools and health care, the government is trying to entice migrant workers to stay in the cities and prevent the kind of spread that would require new lockdowns.
While China’s outbreak is relatively under control compared with those in other countries, clusters of new cases have emerged in recent weeks, prompting sporadic lockdowns and mass testing efforts.
Courtesy – NYT