Tue, 03 Oct 2023

Beijing [China], August 7 (ANI): The recent cluster outbreak of COVID-19 in southern China's city of Sanya has disrupted the holiday plans of thousands of people, as the city is ramping up its COVID-19 control measures.

The city in the southern province of Hainan reported 107 new infections since noon Thursday, according to CCTV.

South China's Hainan Province on Friday reported 262 new cases, with 229 confirmed cases in Sanya, according to the local health commission. A total of 646 new infections were reported from Monday to 12 pm Saturday, Global Times reported.

Sanya reported 129 positive cases as of 12 pm on Saturday. From Monday to 12 pm Saturday, the city reported 558 cases.

The "Hawaii of China" announced the activation of temporary static management starting from Saturday morning to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The province with a population of more than 10 million, has about 80,000 tourists are stranded, of which the majority are in the low-risk Sanya Bay and Yalong Bay, according to He Shigang, the city's deputy mayor.

Officials say that the virus strain has been identified as the Omicron BA5.1.3 variant, which was reported for the first time domestically with hidden and strong transmission,Global Times reported.

The central fishing port of Yazhou district was the origin of the outbreak starting on Monday, which was likely to have been imported through trading with overseas fishermen, according to the local authorities.

Faced with 80,000 tourists stranded under the static management due to the recent epidemic flare-up, the railway authorities have banned all ticket sales in Sanya, and residents cannot leave Sanya by rail.

Prices of air tickets leaving Sanya have skyrocketed. For flights from Sanya to Shanghai, economy class tickets are being sold for around 3,000 yuan (USD 443), while business class is priced around USD 15,000.

All flights leaving Sanya are required to be canceled on Saturday, and there are flights to Sanya that have turned back en route, according to Yicai.com. Passengers stranded at the Sanya airport will be transferred to hotels in the city for follow-up arrangements, Global Times reported.

Data from information provider VariFlight showed that the Sanya Phoenix International Airport cancelled the majority, or 164, flights Saturday morning.

Sanya is the third tourist hub in China to see its peak season disrupted by outbreaks this year.

The city of Beihai located in the south of Guangxi locked down last month to curb an outbreak. It is one of the most popular tourist resorts in the region but the outbreak left over 2,000 tourists stranded in Beihai city due to a coronavirus flare-up that hit the holiday resort.

Since the cluster outbreak in Sanya has already spread within Hainan Province, other cities and regions within the province have also announced measures to curb the spread of the virus. Some districts of the Danzhou city and the Lingshui Li Autonomous County on Saturday entered static management, while the Qionghai city suspended business activities in indoor venues starting from Saturday.

Hainan announced on Saturday the launch of province-wide nucleic acid testing as the spread of the epidemic further expanded on the island. (ANI)

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