BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Hainan, an island dependent on tourism in China, imposed lockdowns on more areas on Monday, state media reported, as it battled the worst outbreak of Covid-19 after having few cases in the two years. the last two. Compared to many other regions of the country.
The county, which recorded only two local asymptomatic cases of Covid last year, has recorded more than 1,500 internally transmitted infections this month, including more than 1,000 asymptomatic cases. Although this is low by global standards, it is the largest outbreak of Hainan disease since the virus was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
The increase in the number of cases comes with increased interest in tourism after China slightly eased restrictions aimed at domestic travel.
However, the restrictions imposed in Hainan, in line with China’s “zero tolerance” policy aimed at stamping out the outbreak as quickly as possible, indicate the ongoing uncertainty surrounding travel and could further erode confidence in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
The provincial capital Haikou, with a population of about 2.9 million, and three smaller cities, Wujishan, Liedong and Qingmai, quarantined residents on Monday, according to state media reports.
At least nine cities and towns, with a combined population of about 7 million, said their residents should only leave where they live for essential reasons such as testing for Covid, grocery shopping or essential work functions. They also suspended public transportation services.
Some 25,000 tourists were stranded in Sanya, the city worst affected by the Hainan virus outbreak and the main tourist center of the tropical island, as of Sunday.
(Reporting by Roxanne Liu, Stella Keogh, Jason Xiu, Ellis Ng, Shihu Jiang, Ryan Wu, Shanghai Newsroom)
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