BEIJING. – China has extended the Spring Festival holiday and postponed school openings, while restrictions on public transport remain in various areas to further contain the coronavirus epidemic.
The seven-day Spring Festival vacation, scheduled to end on January 30, was extended to February 2.
Universities, primary and middle schools and kindergartens across the country will postpone the opening of the spring semester until further notice, according to the General Office of the State Council.
Chinese health authorities announced yesterday that 2 744 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), including 461 in critical condition, had been reported in the country by the end of Sunday.
Besides the temporary closure of tourist sites, museums and cancellations of gatherings, transport restrictions have been imposed in various areas as the country is still in its Spring Festival travel rush period.
Yesterday, the northern port city of Tianjin and the eastern provinces of Zhejiang and Anhui began to suspend inter-provincial highway passenger bus services.
Previously, Shanghai and Qinghai Province had halted similar bus services.
Beijing has also launched temperature detection at 55 subway stations, including stops at railway stations and the Beijing Capital International Airport.
Passengers with abnormal body temperatures will be sent to the hospital.
Beijing’s subway stations and buses have also stepped up cleaning and disinfection work.
Each carriage of the train is ordered to be disinfected every day.
The entrances and exits, escalators, self-service machines, toilets and other public areas of the subway stations are disinfected three times each day.
Tianjin has asked all taxi drivers and passengers to wear masks and taxi drivers to disinfect the car after taking each passenger.
The Lanzhou bureau of China Railway yesterday suspended 30.5 pairs of trains to cities such as Guangzhou, Zhengzhou and Xi’an until February 8.
Strict measures were also implemented in rural areas.
“Our 96 grassroots staff members are all working right now. We have been visiting households and monitoring body temperatures of returning migrant workers every day,” said Wu Lihui, Party official of a sub district office in Shangrao city, eastern China’s Jiangxi Province.
Yang Xiaoxia, a villager in Lantian county, north-western Shaanxi Province, was going to hold a big dinner party for her one-month-old grandson during the Spring Festival.
But she decided to postpone it because of the spreading coronavirus.
“A villager in our village cancelled his wedding banquet,” said Yang.
“I will invite everybody over to celebrate when the outbreak is over.”
Meanwhile, China’s Internet giant Alibaba has launched free online medical consultation services in an effort to relieve hospital pressure amid the novel coronavirus spread.
Users can access the consultation service and view real-time epidemic data nationwide from the National Health Commission on Alibaba’s online shopping platform Taobao or mobile payment app Alipay.
Hundreds of professional doctors from all over the country are providing services through the app, with more than 70 percent of them being respiratory and general practitioners, the company said. – Xinhua.