Chinese authorities extend holiday period to Feb. 2; implement health screenings and transport restrictions at multiple locations.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 27 Jan 2020 18:53 GMT and is scheduled to expire 04 Feb 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Precautionary transport and gathering restrictions
  • Location(s): Mainland China (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business disruptions, transport disruptions; likely supply chain interruptions

Summary
On Jan. 28, Chinese officials announced that the nationwide Lunar New Year holiday period will be extended for three days to Feb. 2. This is the latest move aimed at limiting the spread of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). In addition to extending the public holiday, authorities have advised schools to delay reopening indefinitely. Officials in several locations across mainland China have also suspended operations at many tourism, leisure, and religious gathering venues, along with implementing mandatory temperature checks and other health screenings at transportation hubs, college campuses, and highway toll booths. Health screenings are increasing passenger clearance times at airports, train stations, and subway stations. Numerous businesses throughout the country are restricting operating hours and implementing work-from-home policies as a precaution.

Authorities have imposed long-distance travel restrictions in some regions. Interprovincial bus routes have been suspended in Beijing and Tianjin, and some scheduled rail services have been suspended in Shanghai and Jiangsu. Chinese officials have decreed that passengers are allowed full refunds if canceling domestic rail, airline, long-distance bus, or ferry tickets. Similarly, several international airlines are allowing ticketed passengers to change planned itineraries for direct flights to airports in China. As of early Jan. 28, stringent outbound movement restrictions remain imposed only in Wuhan and other cities in central China's Hubei Province. However, additional business and transport restrictions may be extended to additional areas in China in the coming days.

Several national governments, including those of the US, UK, and Singapore, have issued advisories to avoid travel to Hubei Province, which has been the center of the 2019-nCoV outbreak.

It is unclear how long precautionary restrictions on public gatherings will remain in effect; however, relaxation of the measures will likely depend on the intensity and duration of the 2019-nCoV outbreak. Major supply chain disruptions are likely if the restrictions extend past the traditional Lunar New Year celebratory period into mid-February.

Advice
Follow all official instructions and closely monitor official announcements on any additional precautionary restrictions. To the extent possible, avoid crowded areas as a precaution. Confirm all travel and business reservations. Allow additional travel time for screenings at airports, train stations, and other transport hubs. Make allowances for likely supply chain and other business disruptions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.