Li Hongqiang (L) hands a parcel over to its recipient in Hefei city, East China's Anhui province, Feb 4, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua] The number of parcels delivered rose significantly during this year's weeklong Spring Festival holiday as the nation's coordinated epidemic containment measures led to an increase in local spending. The State Post Bureau of China said 660 million parcels were handled across China from Feb 11 to Wednesday, a year-on-year increase of 260 percent. Spring Festival is the most important holiday for family reunions in China and usually leads to huge traffic flows. This year, to curb recent clusters of COVID-19 cases, governments encouraged people to stay put and avoid traveling during the holiday, which helped stimulate the growth of express delivery services as people sent gifts to family and friends at home. "The rapid growth of the express delivery business during the Spring Festival holiday resulted from people's needs, authorities' well-intentioned guidance and the companies' finely tuned preparedness," said Bian Zuodong, deputy director of the bureau's market regulation department. "A large number of people stayed put during the holiday this year, which led to a significant growth in the need to send and receive parcels. The bureau guided express delivery companies to work throughout the holiday, enhancing the connection with retailers and better managing transportation capabilities and manpower." According to the bureau, there were many more parcels from online shopping than last year. The demand in major cities became stronger, with packages during the festival mainly containing food, local specialties and gifts between family and friends. More express delivery companies kept on working during the holiday, including China Post, SF Express and ZTO Express. More than 1 million couriers worked through the holiday to ensure the smooth operation of the network, the bureau said. It told companies to pay bonuses to couriers and adjust their holidays accordingly to ensure their legal rights. SF Express spent 620 million yuan ($96 million) on allowances to staff working during the holiday. In addition, the company's head, Wang Wei, paid 25 million yuan from his personal account as an extra bonus. Courier Chen Xiang, from ZTO Express in Beijing, worked through the holiday after authorities urged people to avoid traveling. He plans to hold a delayed wedding ceremony at home in Hunan province after epidemic concerns recede. Ju Yongkang, who is in charge of an express delivery station in downtown Beijing, said eight couriers chose to stay to work during the holiday and they received a 500 yuan daily bonus from Feb 8 to 18. The station has 31 couriers. Beijing resident Liu Xiao ordered some clothes racks online on Feb 10 and received the items on Monday. "I did not expect to receive the order during the holiday since it is not a commodity in emergency use. It was a surprise," she said, adding that she did not have to pay extra for the delivery. China's express delivery business has boomed in recent years, with Chinese people sending a record 83 billion packages last year. That figure is expected to soar to 95.5 billion this year.