Outbreak Strands 80K Tourists

Chinese resort city reports 263 cases in a day, prompting lockdown
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2022 10:55 AM CDT
China Locks Down Resort City, 80K Tourists
Sanya, on the southern end of Hainan island, is locked down under China's zero-COVID policy.   (Getty/Julien Viry)

All flights and trains out of the Chinese tropical resort city of Sanya have been canceled in response to a COVID-19 outbreak, stranding more than 80,000 tourists. A lockdown went into effect Saturday after 263 cases were confirmed, the BBC reports. Officials said tourists in Sanya, plus anyone who's been to the city since July 23, can't leave the province. The lockdown hits at the peak of the tourist season in the island province of Hainan, billed as "China's Hawaii" because of its beaches and tropical forests—as well as its luxury hotels, per CNN.

Visitors will have to record five negative coronavirus tests over seven days to be allowed out. Supermarkets and pharmacies are open, per AFP, but entertainment spots are closed, and public transportation is shut down. The measures kick in under China's zero-COVID policy, designed to stop the spread of the disease, which includes border restrictions and mass testing. Officials promised efforts to help the stranded visitors, such as streamlining the rebooking of travel arrangements and taking 50% off the price of hotel rooms.

Sanya also recorded 173 asymptomatic cases reported Saturday. Officials said the highly transmissible omicron BA.5.1.3 subvariant is present in the outbreak, which they suspect arrived on the island through contact with overseas seafood dealers in the city's Yazhou fishing port. The outbreak is the largest in China, the only major world economy with a zero-COVID policy in effect. Danzhou, a city in the same province, imposed a partial lockdown on Saturday. (Shanghai was locked down again last month.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.