China's Lunar new year: People to celebrate new year hoping to leave COVID behind

China’s Lunar new year is scheduled on Sunday, January 22, which is a 15-day celebration that starts with the first sight of the new moon. The lunar new year is also known as the Spring Festival in China, where each year a new animal is assigned from the Chinese zodiac. This year’s Lunar new year is assigned to the water rabbit which is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture. With this, the people of China will be wishing to leave the coronavirus infection behind to offer them health and longevity. Throughout December, the people of China have been struggling with the rapidly spreading coronavirus infection which has caused many deaths in the country and has tormented the population.

The people in China have had one of the worst three years of the pandemic after being completely shut off from the outside world. This is because the people of China were restricted from going out of the country and their friends and families living outside the country were restricted from entering the country for almost three years. In late November of 2022, China lifted some of the stringent restrictions under its Zero-COVID policy due to mass protests by the Chinese population against their government. This offered people some room for free breathing and to have outside gatherings with their friends and family. But because of the sudden lift of restrictions and mass gatherings, the coronavirus infection started rapidly spreading through the country. China’s capital, Beijing, became the epicenter of this surge in COVID-19 cases. By the end of December, Chinese officials reported that the cases have fallen significantly along with the number of new cases being reported. Because of this, China announced with the new year that starting from January 8, the country will be opening its borders to foreign visitors and Chinese people who want to travel overseas. This sparked a ray of new hope for the people of China as this marked the end of the three most torturous years of stringent lockdown.

The impact of this new start for the country is visible throughout China as there are no longer officials to be seen in personal protective equipment. China has lowered the COVID-19 restrictions for the people living in China along with the officials. The only protective gear seen in public is the masks which have been used as a way of primary protection against communicable diseases. Although the hospitals in China are still overpacked with people seeking medical care against the coronavirus infection. But the declining number of COVID-19 cases in the country is a welcoming sign as the country is preparing for celebrations for the Year of Rabbit. Now that the Chinese borders are open for overseas visitors and overseas travelers, people are rushing in to apply for travel visas for their overseas traveling plans. Many who are staying overseas for either work or education, are planning to visit their friends and family. However, many are questioning the numbers which are being put out by the Chinese officials as they seem to be far off from the actual situation. Whatever the truth may be, the people of China sure are hopeful for the new Lunar year.