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BEIJING/SHANGHAI, Aug 8 (Reuters) – China’s tourism-dependent island province of Hainan closed more areas on Monday, Reuters calculated based on state media reports, as it struggles against its worst outbreak of COVID-19 after seeing very few cases in the past two years.

The South China Sea island, which recorded only two local symptomatic cases of COVID last year, has reported more than 1,400 locally transmitted infections this month, including 982 symptomatic. While small by global standards, it is the province’s biggest outbreak since the virus was first reported in China’s central city of Wuhan in late 2019.

The surge in cases comes amid renewed interest in tourism after China eased restrictions on domestic travel, which explains the shorter incubation period of the Omicron variant which facilitates a quarantine time. shorter. Read more

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However, the restrictions in Hainan, in line with China’s “dynamic COVID-zero” policy which aims to eradicate epidemics as soon as possible, underscore the continued uncertainty surrounding travel and could further undermine confidence in the tourism and tourism sectors. hospitality industry who are particularly vulnerable to COVID restrictions.

One city and two towns went into lockdown in Hainan on Monday, according to Reuters calculations based on state media reports.

In total, at least eight cities and towns, with a combined population of around 7 million, said their residents should not go beyond where they live except for necessary reasons such as testing. COVID, groceries or to perform essential job functions.

They have suspended various public transport services.

The measures will remain in place for a few hours to several days in some places, while others have not said when they plan to lift the curbs, according to state media.

About 25,000 tourists were stranded in Sanya, the city hardest hit by the outbreak in Hainan and the island’s main tourist hub, on Sunday. Although cities said tourists could leave after COVID testing, many were frustrated by the disruption to their plans. Read more

In the city of Qionghai, which was to be closed for three days, all flights at Qionghai Boao Airport scheduled for Monday have been canceled for “public security reasons”.

Nationwide, China reported 807 locally transmitted COVID infections for Aug. 7, including 324 symptomatic and 483 asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said.

There were no new deaths, keeping the country’s death toll unchanged at 5,226.

As of Sunday, mainland China had confirmed 231,266 cases with symptoms, including local patients and symptomatic international travellers.

China’s capital, Beijing, reported two new local symptomatic cases on Aug. 7, while Shanghai and the southern technology hub of Shenzhen reported no new local cases.

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Reporting by Roxanne Liu, Ryan Woo and Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.