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Thousands stranded after Covid outbreak on Chinese holiday island

7/08/2022 at 5:12 PM

Beijing, Aug 7 (IANS) Tens of thousands of tourists have been stranded on the popular Chinese holiday island of Hainan due to a coronavirus outbreak, according to Chinese state media reports.

Flights and rail services to the city of Sanya were cancelled after several hundred Covid-19 infections were discovered on the island, which is commonly referred to as “China’s Hawaii”, dpa news agency quoted the state media as saying on Sunday.

While the rest of the world has opted to coexist with the coronavirus, Beijing continues to pursue a strict zero-Covid policy, imposing sweeping lockdowns on any outbreak.

According to Sanya’s deputy mayor, there are currently over 80,000 tourists in the city.

While many visitors have holiday homes there, some 30,000 are staying in hotels, which were reportedly offering 50 per cent discounts on rooms for guests who are now unable to leave.

All public transport in the city was suspended on Saturday, while Sanya airport cancelled all flights on Sunday, according to state television.

In a video posted on social media, frustrated travellers were seen shouting “we want to go home”, as an airport official struggled to tell them to return to their hotels over a megaphone.

In a similar move just last month, nearly a million people in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province where the Covid-19 pandemic was first recorded, were placed under a lockdown after four asymptomatic cases were detected.

Wuhan was also the first city to be put under harsh restrictive measures as the global pandemic broke out in early 2020.

In June, Shanghai emerged from a strict two-month lockdown, but residents were still adapting to a “new normal” of frequent mass testing.

Since the onset of the pandemic, China has reported a total of 2,30,886 Covid-19 cases and 5,226 deaths.

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