Chinese tourist hot spot imposes COVID lockdown, shuts public transport

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The southern Chinese beach holiday city of Sanya imposed a lockdown on Saturday and shut its public transport system to try to stop a COVID-19 outbreak during its peak tourist season.

Authorities announced the curbs would start at 6 am (2200 GMT), saying the COVID situation was “very severe” and people’s movements were being restricted. It did not say when the measures might be lifted.

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

The city on Hainan island reported 263 COVID cases for Friday.

Authorities said they had detected the Omicron subvariant BA.5.1.3.

The lockdown comes in the high tourist season for the city, which is also known for its duty-free shopping and is home to several high-end hotels run by international companies including IHG and Marriott International.

The deputy mayor, He Shigang, told state broadcaster CCTV there were about 80 000 tourists in the city.

People must have two negative PCR tests taken within 48 hours to leave the Sanya.

The city started imposing lockdown measures in some places on Thursday.

More venues, including its duty-free malls which are popular with Chinese shoppers unable to travel abroad, were shut on Friday.