Sanya, a popular tourist spot in China, locks down due to COVID-19
Sanya, a resort city in southern China, implemented a lockdown on Saturday, August 6, and restricted transit links in an effort to put a stop to an epidemic of COVID-19. This comes at a time when approximately 80,000 tourists were enjoying the city’s beaches during the peak season.
The authorities announced that the situation with COVID-19 was “extremely grave” around 6 am (2200 GMT), at which point the limitations on people’s movements went into effect. People’s movements were restricted.
The authorities did not indicate when the measures would be withdrawn, but they did note that tourists who wanted to leave the city, which is located on the island of Hainan, would be required to present proof of five negative RT-PCR tests carried out over the course of seven days.
According to a statement published by the local authorities on the WeChat account maintained by the city government, “We urge the general people and tourists to understand and lend their support.”
On Friday, the city reported 263 cases of COVID, which is a significant increase from the 11 cases reported two days before. The authorities reported that they had found the Omicron subvariant known as BA.5.1.3.
The city is also famous for its duty-free shopping, and it is home to several high-end hotels managed by foreign corporations such as IHG IHG.L and Marriott International MAR.O. The lockdown comes during the peak tourist season for the city, which is also known for its duty-free shopping.
He Shigang, the deputy mayor of the city, stated to the state broadcaster CCTV that there were approximately 80,000 tourists in the city, but that the cases were primarily among the locals.
Later on Saturday, officials held a news conference where they announced that if tourists were forced to prolong their vacations, the cost of their hotel rooms would be reduced by fifty percent.
Micah Hostetter, a business consultant based in Shanghai who was planning to leave after a stay of one week on Sunday, expressed his disappointment with the situation by saying, “It truly stinks.”
“We don’t know how long we’re going to be here, we hope it’s not that long,” said Hostetter, who earlier in the year faced a lockdown in Shanghai that lasted for over two and a half months. “We hope it’s not that long.”
CCTV reported that the sale of railway tickets out of Sanya had been suspended, citing the national operator. Furthermore, according to data source Variflight, more than 80 percent of flights to and from Sanya had been cancelled.
Thursday marked the beginning of the city’s implementation of lockdown procedures in some areas. On Friday, several locations, including the country’s famed duty-free malls, which are frequented by Chinese customers who are unable to travel outside, were closed.