Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to this press conference held by the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council. Today, we have invited Mr. Liu Xiaoming, vice minister of transport; Mr. Li Jian, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC); Mr. Li Wenxin, vice general manager of the China State Railway Group Co. Ltd.; and Mr. He Qinghua, person in charge of the Bureau of Disease Prevention and Control at China's National Health Commission (NHC). They will introduce measures adopted to deal with COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control during the post-Spring Festival travel rush. They will also answer your questions.
First, I will give the floor to Mr. Liu.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good afternoon. First, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone for your attention to epidemic control in regard to transport services during the post-Spring Festival travel rush.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has attached great importance to the epidemic prevention and control work during the post-Spring Festival travel rush. At the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee held on Feb.12, General Secretary Xi emphasized that the regions with large passenger inflows should act based on the requirements of joint and mass prevention and control, take measures such as stepping up health monitoring of returning personnel, and intensifying disinfection and ventilation at transport stations, to ensure solid results in the epidemic prevention and control work. The Ministry of Transport has conscientiously implemented the instructions, adopting a science-based approach to avoid returning travel peak and improve epidemic control.
The Spring Festival travel rush, known colloquially as chunyun, usually lasts for 40 days, including 15 ahead of the festival and 25 afterwards. This year's chunyun, the earliest in the past six years, witnessed an overlap of trips made by students and people returning home to visit relatives. The passenger flow before the festival was consistent with previous years. From Jan.10 to 24, a total of 1.14 billion passenger trips were made across the country, up by 2% year-on-year. The daily passenger volume averaged 76.22 million, and reached a peak of 84.53 million on Jan. 22 (28th day of the 12th month under the traditional Chinese lunar year), a year-on-year increase of 2% and 1.2% respectively. After the festival, due to the grave and complex fight against the epidemic, the number of return trips dropped sharply, with no obvious peaks. From Jan. 25 to Feb. 14, a total of 283 million passenger trips were made across the country, with 13.48 million per day, down 82.3% compared with the same period last year, and only one-sixth of the total volume during a normal chunyun. With only three days remaining before the end of this year's chunyun, no big change is expected in passenger traffic numbers.
Based on the current situation, it is estimated that the number of passenger trips during chunyun this year is expected to be more than 50% lower than last year due to the epidemic. Passenger volume during the last half of the travel rush plunged dramatically, with a sharp decline in the travel flow for business or tourism purposes. The number of passenger trips even tended to drop to zero in some regions. The peak in the flow of people returning to work will decrease, and their trips will be made over an extended period, even beyond chunyun. This year's return trips will feature a significant decline in daily intensity and passenger flow peak, as well as a notable extension of time. In other words, there will not be a "peak in the normal sense" for Spring Festival return trips this year, nor will there be any overlap in passenger flow. The largest daily passenger volume is estimated to be around 15 million, or one-fifth the usual figure.
As for the types of passengers, the majority in the near future will be migrant workers returning to work and students returning to school. There will be few travelers making business trips and even fewer tourists. It is expected that before the end of February, the main type of passengers will be migrant workers. Based on a comprehensive analysis, the number of migrant workers returning is around 300 million, of which 80 million have already returned. At the end of February, about 120 million will return to their work. After March, nearly 100 million will return. It is estimated that appropriately 100 million students will return to school, although the period will be subject to the opening times of schools.
We should note that even though we have not seen a clear peak during this year's Spring Festival travel season, we must still ensure the safety of passengers and strive to contain the epidemic. To fulfil the task of epidemic prevention and control as well as ensuring transportation safety, we will do our best in the following four aspects.
First, we will strictly implement the measures for epidemic prevention and control. We will strengthen our efforts at cleaning, disinfecting and ventilating passenger stations and transportation vehicles. The safety of relevant workers will also be enhanced. By doing so, we will curb the spread of the virus through transportation vehicles. Based on the premise of protecting privacy, relevant departments should gather passengers' information to ensure they can be contacted.
Second, we will optimize the transportation capacity as well as the arrangements of vehicle schedules. More human resources will be invested to meet the demand of passengers and the occupancy rate of transportation vehicles will be strictly controlled. We will learn from the experiences of the "Spring Breeze Action" plan for the safe and orderly return of migrant workers in Sichuan province which features point to point transportation service. Efforts will also be made to reduce the risk of cross infection. We will provide guidance to ensure that transportation services in all cities, including passenger trains and city buses, can be resumed in an orderly manner.
Third, we will continue to strengthen supervision and eliminate safety hazards during the Spring Festival travel rush. We will also work on contingency plans, especially for transportation arrangements during severe weather conditions, to ensure the safety of passengers.
Fourth, we will pay close attention to any changes in the epidemic and strengthen the monitoring and analysis of passenger flow. In this way, we can timely adjust transportation arrangements accordingly and meet people's travel needs.
Thank you. Now the floor is open for questions. Please identify your media outlet before asking your questions.