Chinese authorities have extended a strict coronavirus lockdown on the tropical island of Hainan beyond the resort town of Sanya.
Tens of thousands of mainland tourists were already stranded in Sanya – dubbed Hawaii in China – with four other cities covered by measures from Monday.
What happened in Hainan?
Authorities announced lockdown measures on Hainan Island after more than 1,100 COVID cases were detected on the island, located in the South China Sea.
Some 80,000 tourists are believed to have been stranded by the lockdown in Sanya, which is Hainan’s tourist hub.
Authorities declared Sanya a coronavirus hotspot on Saturday, imposing a lockdown that confined Chinese and international tourists to hotels and vacation apartments.
Authorities have ordered hotels to halve their rates for stranded tourists, but “isolated cases” have seen them refuse to do so or even double their rates.
Sanya is the hub of the tourism industry on the tropical island of Hainan
Other areas on the island have also imposed lockdowns, with state media reporting Monday that four more cities – Wanning, Danzhou, Qionghai and Lingshui – have been included.
A short 1 p.m. lockdown was also imposed in the provincial capital, Haikou City, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time.
Anyone wishing to leave the island must test negative five times out of seven days.
Shares of travel and tourism fall
The strict measures are in line with China’s “dynamic zero COVID” policy, imposing sweeping containment measures on any outbreak despite the resulting slowdown in economic growth.
Stocks in tourism, transportation and consumer staples all lost value on Monday, with one of them – China Tourism Group Duty Free Corp – down 4.7%. The slowdown came after Sanya began closing duty-free malls last week.
China’s struggling aviation sector, which had relied on a summer travel boom to pare record losses, was also hit.
Shares of Hainan Airlines fell 1.5% on Monday, hovering around the lowest level since February last year, when the airline sought to address a long liquidity crunch.
rc/nm (dpa, Reuters, AP)
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Post expires at 9:05pm on Thursday August 18th, 2022