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  • 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.

And millions of people around the world are welcoming in the year of the rabbit.

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