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2022-01-26 13:33:33

For years, China’s Lunar New Year travel season has been dubbed the world’s biggest human migration. But once again, the mood is tense as hundreds of millions of Chinese prepare to visit their families for the holidays.

For the third year in a row, China’s leaders are concerned the massive movement of people over the holiday travel rush — which officially started on Jan. 17 — will cause a spike in coronavirus cases. 

Outbreaks of the highly infectious Omicron variant in recent weeks have added to these fears — and caused officials to strengthen virus-suppression measures even further. Snap lockdowns inside malls, schools, and office buildings have become normalized, while international mail has also come under suspicion.

Many companies and local authorities are once again discouraging people from making long-distance trips this holiday. However, millions of people are still choosing to plough ahead with their vacation plans, while using a number of creative ways to protect themselves from infection.

Shanghai Railway Station, Jan. 22, 2022. Wu Huiyuan/Sixth Tone

Shanghai Railway Station, Jan. 22, 2022. Wu Huiyuan/Sixth Tone

Shanghai Railway Station, Jan. 22, 2022. Wu Huiyuan/Sixth Tone

Shanghai Railway Station, Jan. 22, 2022. Wu Huiyuan/Sixth Tone

Zhengzhou Railway Station, Henan province, Jan. 22, 2022. Wu Xiande/People Visual

Zhengzhou Railway Station, Henan province, Jan. 22, 2022. Wu Xiande/People Visual

Shijiazhuang Railway Station, Hebei province, Jan. 17, 2022. Yang Leitao/People Visual

Shijiazhuang Railway Station, Hebei province, Jan. 17, 2022. Yang Leitao/People Visual

Hangzhou East Railway Station, Zhejiang province, Jan. 25, 2022. Long Wei/IC

Hangzhou East Railway Station, Zhejiang province, Jan. 25, 2022. Long Wei/IC

Beijing Railway Station, Jan. 26, 2022. Noel Celis/AFP via People Visual

Beijing Railway Station, Jan. 26, 2022. Noel Celis/AFP via People Visual

Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Jan. 17, 2022. Wang Gang/CNS/IC

Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Jan. 17, 2022. Wang Gang/CNS/IC

Hangzhou Railway Station, Zhejiang province, Jan. 17, 2022. Wang Gang/CNS/IC

Hangzhou Railway Station, Zhejiang province, Jan. 17, 2022. Wang Gang/CNS/IC

Ganluo County, Sichuan province, Jan. 25, 2022. Liu Zhongjun/CNS/People Visual

Ganluo County, Sichuan province, Jan. 25, 2022. Liu Zhongjun/CNS/People Visual

Shenzhen North Railway Station, Guangdong province, Jan. 17, 2022. IC

Shenzhen North Railway Station, Guangdong province, Jan. 17, 2022. IC

Shenzhen North Railway Station, Guangdong province, Jan. 17, 2022. IC

Shenzhen North Railway Station, Guangdong province, Jan. 17, 2022. IC

Beijing Railway Station, Jan. 26, 2022. Noel Celis/AFP via People Visual

Beijing Railway Station, Jan. 26, 2022. Noel Celis/AFP via People Visual

Shanghai South Railway Station, Jan. 24, 2022. Wu Huiyuan/Sixth Tone

Shanghai South Railway Station, Jan. 24, 2022. Wu Huiyuan/Sixth Tone

Shanghai South Railway Station, Jan. 24, 2022. Wu Huiyuan/Sixth Tone

Shanghai South Railway Station, Jan. 24, 2022. Wu Huiyuan/Sixth Tone

Migrant workers head home on motorcycles for Chinese New Year, Rong’an County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Jan. 24, 2022. Tan Kaixing/IC

Migrant workers head home on motorcycles for Chinese New Year, Rong’an County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Jan. 24, 2022. Tan Kaixing/IC

Guangzhou Railway Station, Jan. 17, 2022. Weng Huan/Southern Weekend via People Visual

Guangzhou Railway Station, Jan. 17, 2022. Weng Huan/Southern Weekend via People Visual

Editor: Dominic Morgan.