Taipei, Jan 12: People in China have been warned against travelling to visit their elderly relatives during the lunar new year holiday, as Covid spreads rapidly through cities and into regional and poorer areas, the media reported.
Prof Guo Jianwen, a member of the state council's pandemic prevention team, urged people "don't go home to visit them" if elderly relatives had not yet been infected, The Guardian reported.
"You have all kinds of ways to show you care for them, you don't necessarily have to bring the virus to their home," Guo said on Thursday.
The holiday period, which begins on January 21, was supposed to be a return to festivities and travel after the lifting of most restrictions in December but instead it is coinciding with a wave of infections.
Health authorities said this week the peak of infections had passed in several big provinces and cities including Beijing and Shanghai.
But there are serious concerns for regional areas where health resources are more limited and older people are more likely to be unvaccinated.
"The situation in rural China is very murky," said Chen Xi, an assistant professor specialising in ageing and public health at Yale University.
"We have strong reasons to believe rural China will get much worse as the spring festival approaches," The Guardian reported.
There have been reports from people in rural areas across China of mass infections, deaths, and healthcare woes, including areas where authorities say infections are yet to peak, The Guardian reported.
Villagers in Guangdong province reported shortages of medication and oxygen supplies.
In Shaanxi, a musician who played at funerals reported being busier than ever, while a woman returning to her small Hunan village decried at least six new customary funeral sheds - temporary structures built for people to mourn an individual.