Queues stretched for about one kilometre (a half-mile) outside the iconic Lama temple in Beijing, which had been repeatedly shut before COVID-19 restrictions ended in early December, with thousands of people waiting for their turn to pray for their loved ones.
One Beijing resident said she wished the year of the rabbit will bring "health to everyone".
"I think this wave of the pandemic is gone," said the 57-year-old, who only gave her last name, Fang. "I didn’t get the virus, but my husband and everyone in my family did. I still think it's important to protect ourselves."
Earlier, officials reported almost 13,000 deaths related to COVID in hospitals between January 13 and 19, adding to the nearly 60,000 in the month or so before that. Chinese health experts say the wave of infections across the country has already peaked.
China on Jan. 14 reported nearly 60,000 COVID-related deaths in hospitals between Dec. 8 and Jan. 12, a huge increase from the 5,000-plus deaths reported previously over the entire pandemic period.
As millions of migrant workers return home for Lunar New Year celebrations, health experts are particularly concerned about people living in China's vast countryside, where medical facilities are poor compared with those in the affluent coastal areas.
About 110 million railway passenger trips are estimated to have been made during Jan. 7-21, the first 15 days of the 40-day Lunar New Year travel rush, up 28% year-on-year, People's Daily, the Communist Party's official newspaper, reported.
A total of 26.23 million trips were made on the Lunar New Year eve via railway, highway, ships and airplanes, half the pre-pandemic levels, but up 50.8% from last year, state-run CCTV reported.
The mass movement of people during the holiday period may spread the pandemic, boosting infections in some areas, but a second COVID wave is unlikely in the near term, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Saturday on the Weibo social media platform.
The possibility of a big COVID rebound in China over the next two or three months is remote as 80% of people have been infected, Wu said.
After China re-opened its borders on Jan. 8, some Chinese also booked trips abroad. Asia's tourist hotspots have been bracing for the return of Chinese tourists, who spent $255 billion a year globally before the pandemic.
"Because of the pandemic, we hadn't been out of China for three years," said tourist and business owner Kiki Hu, 28, in Krabi on Thailand's southwest coast. "Now that we can leave and come here for holiday, I feel so happy and emotional".
Từ vựng liên quan
Tin tức liên quan
Since she was a little girl, Li Xia's dream was to move from China and settle in America. On Saturday night, when she heard the gunfire that killed at least 10 people in her newfound home of Monterey Park, California, that dream was shattered.
Nine people were killed in a mass shooting in the city of Monterey Park, California, late on Saturday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday that corruption, the country's chronic problem cast into the background by the war against Russia, would not be tolerated and promised forthcoming key decisions on uprooting it this week.
People suspect it was a Facebook cleanup attempt.
Brazil and Argentina aim for greater economic integration, including the development of a common currency, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Argentine leader Alberto Fernandez said in a joint article they penned.
Insufficient water drainage capacity, disappearing lakes and poor urban planning are the chief reasons for flooding in Hanoi during heavy downpours.