Covid outbreak: Tropical Sanya, ‘China’s Hawaii’ locked down, trapping 80,000 tourists | World News

Beijing: Chinese authorities on Saturday locked down the beach resort city of Sanya, often referred to as the “Hawaii of China”, indefinitely, trapping at least 80,000 tourists in an effort to contain the fast-spreading Covid-19 outbreak.

Authorities ordered “static management of the entire city”, banned public transport and restricted the mobility of residents in Sanya from Saturday morning.

Sanya, a city of more than 1 million people, is a tourist hotspot and the capital of Hainan province on the country’s southern coast.

The latest challenge is balancing the Chinese government’s strict “zero covid” or “dynamic clearance” policy with economic growth. The lockdown is likely to hit domestic tourism badly, which will gradually pick up in the wake of China’s strict Covid policies.

455 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the city since August 1, when the ongoing outbreak was detected till Saturday morning.

Mass tests have been started across the city.

The restrictions came into effect at 6am on Saturday, with officials saying the situation in the outbreak was “very severe”.

“We urge the common people and tourists to understand and offer their support,” Sanya’s government announced on social media.

More than 80,000 tourists are currently staying in Sanya, the vice mayor of Sanya was quoted as saying by Shigang state media.

People must take two negative PCR tests within 48 hours to leave Sanya, he told national broadcaster, CCTV.

With flight ticket prices soaring, it is not clear how everyone stranded in the city will be able to return in time.

Sanya, known for its beaches and tropical climate, was put in place on Thursday as the number of cases gradually increased.

As of Friday, most outdoor spaces were ordered to close, including restaurants, bars and the city’s popular duty-free malls.

“The cluster outbreak in Sanya has spread within the province, and the virus strain is the Omicron BA 5.1.3 variant, which is reported domestically for the first time with hidden and strong transmission,” Li Wenxiu with Hainan’s Health Commission told State-Run. Global Times Tabloid.

Chinese authorities are dealing with another outbreak in the city of Yiwu, considered a global hub for small commodities and located in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

Mass testing is underway in the city, with bus services suspended at least till August 8, local reports said.

Local authorities have advised residents not to leave Yiwu if necessary and are asking citizens from other areas not to enter the city.

Residents who need to leave Yiwu must present a green health code and a negative nucleic acid test result taken within 24 hours.

Yiw reported the first four confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the latest outbreak on August 2, just days after a chartered flight carrying 163 traders from Pakistan landed in the city as part of efforts to reopen the market to overseas buyers. The Morning Post reported, citing local official newspaper Xinhua Daily.

According to the paper, the city is also looking to arrange flights to fly in Indian traders.

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