Outbreak in ‘China’s Hawaii’ traps over 80,000 tourists . . .
Local authorities imposed an abrupt citywide lockdown Saturday in the city of Sanya, a prime beach destination in south China’s Hainan province, following a COVID-19 flare up. Restrictions on movement, including the cancellation of 80 per cent of flights and all trains departing the city, have stranded some 80,000 tourists on the island province. Hainan’s latest wave is spreading rapidly, with more than 2,400 cases reported since August 1. To address rising public complaints over the lockdown, government officials provided some (approximately 40%) hotel-trapped visitors with a half-price discount for their extended stays. Those who plan to leave Hainan will have to present five negative test results over seven days to depart.
Manufacturing hub, border regions see new spikes, lockdowns . . .
Other COVID-19 hotspots, including some border regions that have rarely reported any cases since 2020, have also implemented new restrictions. Yiwu, the world’s largest wholesale market for light industry products, has upgraded its pandemic restrictions from a quasi- to a citywide lockdown amid a growing outbreak that started on August 2. The restrictions have led to a significant drop in outbound parcels, sparking concerns over shipment delays at the height of pre-Christmas production. In Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, authorities swiftly closed the famous Potala Palace and restricted intra-city movement following a minor outbreak on Monday. And in Urumqi, the capital of the neighbouring province of Xinjiang, most of the city is in lockdown due to 700 new cases this month.
Mixed signals on COVID rules . . .
In late June, Beijing halved mandatory quarantine periods for international arrivals, and earlier this week, it eased the country’s infamous ‘circuit breaker’ mechanism for inbound international flights. However, just as restrictions are loosened, they are often quickly ramped back up as new hotspots erupt across the country, prompting draconian control measures. Local officials are generally unwilling to deviate from their accustomed means of testing all residents and locking down ‘high risk’ neighbourhoods, despite the National Health Commission’s outright disapproval of “overdoing COVID restrictions.” The mixed message on paper and in practice will continue to be a concern for those planning to visit, trade, conduct business, or interact with their counterparts in China.
- Fortune: China is not easing its harsh COVID rules any time soon—and residents are fleeing new lockdowns on foot
- Reuters: China's Tibet region faces rare COVID flare up, fresh curbs imposed
- South China Morning Post: Tens of thousands of Chinese tourists stranded in island resort of Sanya after city imposes COVID lockdown