Covid Lockdown in Chinese Beach Resort on Hainan Island

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Chinese authorities have imposed a lockdown on Sanya, a resort town south of Hainan Islandon Saturday and shut down its public transport system in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Officials said the situation was “very serious”, in part because it is its peak tourist season, and restrictions would begin at 6 a.m. No information was given on the duration of the confinement.

“We urge the general public and tourists to understand and show support,” authorities said in a statement posted on the city government’s WeChat account.

The island city of Hainan reported 263 Covid cases for Friday. Authorities said they detected the Omicron BA.5.1.3 subvariant.

Sanya is known for its duty-free shopping and is home to several high-end hotels run by international companies such as IHG and Marriott International.

Deputy Mayor He Shigang told state broadcaster CCTV that there were around 80,000 tourists in the city but the cases were mostly among residents.

People were still allowed to leave Sanya but had to show two negative PCR tests taken within 48 hours to do so.

Some tourists have taken to social media to vent their frustration.

“My plane was supposed to take off at 9am this morning but they suddenly locked down the city…I have to go home to start working,” said a Weibo user.

The city began imposing lockdowns in some locations on Thursday. Other venues, including its duty-free malls, which are popular with Chinese shoppers unable to travel overseas, were closed on Friday.

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd newspapers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before touring South East Asia in the late 1990s. leader of The Nation for over 17 years and has a family in Bangkok.

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