More than 80000 tourists stranded in Chinese resort city after Covid-19 the outbreak

More than 80000 tourists stranded in Chinese resort city after Covid-19 the outbreak

BEIJING (AFP) - Over 80,000 tourists are stranded in a resort city popularly known as "China's Hawaii" after a Covid-19 flare-up led authorities to impose strict travel restrictions.

Tourism hotspot Sanya is a city of more than a million people on the southern island of Hainan, where 483 Covid-19 cases were reported on Sunday (Aug 7).

All flights out of the city were cancelled over the weekend, with authorities also halting train ticket sales.

Some 80,000 tourists are stranded in the southern Chinese beach resort of Sanya, after authorities declared it a COVID-19 hot spot and imposed a lockdown. The restrictions came into force on Saturday morning, as authorities sought to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the city on tropical Hainan Island. There were 229 confirmed cases on Friday and an additional 129 on Saturday.

Tourists who want to leave must test negative in five polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests over seven days, health authorities said.

Hotels in the city have been asked to offer guests a 50 per cent discount until the travel restrictions ease, an official said during a news briefing on Saturday.

China is the only major economy still holding fast to a zero-Covid-19 strategy with snap lockdowns and long quarantines, battering local tourism

China’s ruling Communist Party sticks steadfastly to a “zero-COVID” approach that is increasingly at odds with the rest of the world. A recent outbreak in Shanghai spread so widely that authorities locked down the entire city, China’s largest, for two months, trapping millions of people and dealing a blow to the national economy.

The country's borders have also remained largely closed since early 2020, halting international tourism.

The latest Covid-19 outbreak comes during peak tourism season in Sanya, a popular surfing spot.

All entertainment venues including spas, karaoke bars and pubs have been closed since last week, but essential services such as supermarkets and pharmacies remain open.

Railway authorities banned all ticket sales in Sanya while all flights were also canceled on Saturday.

Tourists wanting to depart Sanya have to test negative for the coronavirus on five PCR tests over seven days, authorities said.

Meanwhile, hotels will offer guests a 50% discount during the lockdown period, a city official said during a news briefing.

The lockdown comes during a peak tourism season in Sanya, which is famous for its resorts and beaches.