(Photo by Zhou Mu/Xinhua)

China on track to loosen traffic control as work resumes

China is gradually loosening traffic controls in regions outside of Hubei Province, in a bid to facilitate work resumption amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

All the toll stations on expressways in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province were opened on Monday, following the suspension of dozens of toll stations amid the epidemic to reduce personnel flow, according to the provincial transport department.

Sixty of the 74 service areas on expressways have been opened, and disinfection is conducted on a regular basis every day, the department added.

Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region on Sunday also lifted restrictions on 18 expressway toll stations that were temporarily closed to facilitate transportation and work resumption.

On the same day, the transport department of east China’s Jiangsu Province issued a notice to remove all the temporary checkpoints at entries and exits of expressways, toll stations, service areas and provincial borders.

Despite loosened traffic control, Jiangsu is still enhancing its epidemic prevention and control measures. Railway stations, ferry and bus terminals are required to set up isolation sites, while passenger ferries, long-distance buses, inter-provincial and intra-provincial buses should leave at least half their seats unoccupied, and have passengers’ information registered for safety reasons.

The State Council, or China’s cabinet, stressed efforts to further improve the smooth flow of highway traffic and ensure the normal passage of personnel and vehicles in early February.

All-out efforts should be made to ensure the smooth operation of highways, said a circular released by the General Office of the State Council on Feb. 8, requiring local departments to optimize control measures for highway traffic and prevent traffic congestion.

As of Feb. 16, 14 provinces such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui have resumed inter-provincial and intra-provincial road passenger transport, while 13 provinces have resumed intra-provincial road passenger transport, Li Guoping, an official with the Ministry of Transport, told Xinhua on Feb. 18.