Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles And millions of people around the world are welcoming in the year of the rabbit. As the Chinese lunar year celebrations begin. The event kicks off a 15 day festival and it's the first time since the pandemic began that it's being held without any travel restrictions. In China, the BBC's Michael Bristowe reports. There's excitement and relief as china begins celebrating its first lunar new year since the lifting of covid restrictions. Not surprisingly, there were more travelers than last year. They were expected to be two billion individual journeys in china over the whole holiday. Although that's still fewer than before the outbreak began. For some, it's the first get together since the start of the pandemic. I'm very happy to see my son and his family. This is our first reunion in three years, but Covid is casting a shadow over the new year. Many are still cautious about traveling. People fear they could be taking disease home with them. Although we've opened up, I still have concerns. Everyone needs to take measures to protect themselves and for parents and the elderly who haven't got covid yet. We still need to be careful for them. In a new year address, china's leader xi Jinping promised glories and dreams in the upcoming year of the rabbit. Perhaps a veiled reference to china's current covid crisis. He said this passing years achievements had not come easy. Chinese officials are trying to convince the public that the worst is over. But there were fears that such a huge movement of people across china over the lunar new year could fuel further Covid infections and deaths. Michael busto BBC news.