Hundreds of millions of people are headed home for the Lunar New Year holiday because of the dismantling of China's zero-COVID restrictions in December. The crush of travel risks supercharging the world's biggest COVID 19 outbreak, spreading it to every corner of the country.
Travelers from migrant workers to college students to educated urban elites risk carrying the highly-infectious omicron strain to the COVID-naive swaths of rural China that have managed to escape the pandemic until now.
The holiday traditionally involves packed planes, trains, buses and ferries leaving big cities along China's prosperous eastern coast for remote hinterlands as workers reunite with their families ahead of the new lunar year, which begins on Sunday. They may bring COVID 19 with them this year, and expose their loved ones to it for the first time.
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