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Luxury Braces Itself as Chinese Authorities Discourage Travel Ahead of New Year Festivities

Customers wearing face masks line up to enter Wushang Plaza Shopping Centre in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China. Getty Images.

Chinese authorities have reported the country’s first Covid-19 death since May and reimposed small-scale lockdowns following a surge in local cases. 

Following the death (China’s 4,635th since Covid-19 broke out), thousands of residents in high risk areas within Hebei province’s Shijiazhuang have been evacuated to a quarantine facility, South China Morning Post reports. The country’s national health commission reported almost 140 new confirmed cases as well as 78 asymptomatic cases on Thursday, China’s highest daily count since March

The uptick comes just weeks before February’s Chinese New Year holiday, a major travel and gifting period in the country. Not only have authorities discouraged people from travelling home for the New Year, restrictions will be imposed on gatherings such as banquets and parties.

Travel limitations and social distancing bode poorly for luxury retailers, for whom China’s rapid recovery from coronavirus has provided a much needed respite from stagnant sales in Europe and the US. Travel retail in particular has been buoyed by a rebound in domestic travel, which will suffer a hard blow if businesses must miss out on the lucrative holiday period.

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