China Warns Communist May Day Travel Could Worsen Beijing Epidemic

Workers in protective suits take a rest as people line up to register during a mass COVID-19 test outside a shopping mall in Beijing, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
AP Photo/Andy Wong

Beijing health officials on Monday warned that an upcoming communist holiday on May 1 known as “May Day” would cause an increase in travel into the Chinese national capital and therefore raise the city’s risk of facing a spike in Chinese coronavirus cases, the state-run Global Times reported.

The newspaper paraphrased unnamed Chinese health “authorities” as urging Communist Party officials in charge of Beijing to “fight against the epidemic in case it escalates due to multiple risks brought by people coming from outside of the capital and increasing population flow as May Day holidays approach.”

The health officials spoke at a regular news conference held in Beijing on April 25. Pang Xinghuo, the deputy director of Beijing’s municipal center for disease prevention and control, also spoke at Monday’s press briefing. He updated media outlets on Beijing’s latest outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus, revealing the city reported 29 new daily cases of the disease on April 25.

“Since Friday [April 22], Beijing’s COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] tally soared to 70, involving eight districts, with Chaoyang, where most cases were found, recording 46 cases,” according to the Global Times.

The Associated Press

A worker in a protective takes a swab for a COVID-19 test at a coronavirus testing facility in Beijing, Saturday, April 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

In a separate article published later on April 25, the Global Times again relayed warnings against May Day’s likelihood to cause upticks in Beijing’s burgeoning Chinese coronavirus caseload.

“Experts stressed that risks remain and the pressure to fight COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] has further escalated due to the multiple risks brought about by people coming from outside the capital city and the increasing flow as May Day approaches, and they advised the local government to act as fast as possible to cut off transmission chains,” the newspaper observed.

The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, which is the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee.

May Day is also known as “International Workers’ Day” or “Labor Day.” The holiday’s origins date back to 1889 when an international federation of socialists designated May 1 as a day to ostensibly honor trade unions and laborers. The holiday has since evolved into a general celebration of Marxism in many communist countries, such as China, where it is today considered one of the biggest annual holidays.

China’s May Day travel season typically lasts from about May 1 through May 5, though the holiday often sparks preparatory travel in late April. Chinese May Day festivities include musical concerts and other mass gatherings. May Day music festivals in China often span multiple days. At least 20 music festivals occurred last May Day in China, according to a Global Times report on April 18, 2021. The newspaper at the time said booking websites expected 20 million people to travel during the May Day season to attend the concerts.


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