Cities across China are cancelling New Year’s Eve celebrations to try to minimise Covid-19 infection risks, and people are being discouraged from travelling for the Lunar New Year break in the first week of February. Happy Valley Beijing, an amusement park, announced on Weibo on Thursday that its new year party at midnight would be cancelled and the park would be closed. In the eastern city of Nanjing, the Xinjiekou commercial centre cancelled its outdoor countdown and light show, and multiple temples announced they were not opening at night, encouraging people to stay safe and avoid large gatherings. In Wuhan, the local centre for disease prevention and control said that no large-scale public events would be held in popular commercial areas. Some people expressed disappointment at the cancellations. One asked on Weibo how else they could see in the new year. “I’ve been thinking about activities for a month,” they said. “I wanted to go to Happy Valley, but now the fireworks are cancelled. I have no idea what to do right now.” Others were expecting the cancellations, having grown used to China’s approach to virus control. Michael Li, a resident of Shenzhen, neighbouring Hong Kong, said that he and his friends had always intended to avoid large gatherings, fearing a risk of infection, and would instead get together for a meal, play card games and watch television. “We’ve consciously put more restrictions and protection on ourselves during the pandemic, and we’ve cut back travel by a lot this year,” he said. Local governments are also making preparations for the expected mass migration around the Lunar New Year, which will begin in less than a month. The State Council, China’s cabinet, said on Wednesday that travel would be restricted for those in medium and high-risk areas, and more prevention measures would be imposed generally. Local communities will be asked to step up their monitoring of returnees. The Spring Festival travel rush , known in China as chunyun , will last from January 17 to February 25. It is usually the country’s busiest annual travel season, when many people make journeys to reunite with their families. About 280 million rail passenger trips are expected during the forthcoming rush – a sharp increase of 29 per cent from 2021, state news agency Xinhua reported. The number of air trips is expected to be unchanged from 2020 and 2021 levels, at about 35 million. China on Friday reported 166 new local symptomatic Covid-19 cases, 161 of which were in Xian, whose 13 million residents are subject to a citywide lockdown . There were also 58 imported cases, 29 of them symptomatic.