Chinese cities ask residents to stay home for holidays due to outbreaks

Beijing, Sep 5 (EFE).- Many local governments in China have asked residents not to travel during the upcoming public holidays as most provinces have registered recent outbreaks of Covid-19.

Beijing announced that for Mid-Autumn Festival on Sep. 10-12 and National Day Holiday in the first week of October, the authorities will be “stricter” in the management and control of the pandemic, according to the state Global Times newspaper on Monday.

The national holiday of Oct. 1 and the following days are known as Golden Week because it is the period of the year in which people tend to travel the most, making it a key time for the Chinese tourism sector.

The port city of Tianjin, which is dealing with a Covid rebound, asked its residents not to leave the city in the near future and those who do must have a PCR test carried out in the 48 hours prior to their return to the city, when they will have to undergo another test within 24 hours.

Other cities in the provinces of Shandong, Sichuan, Hunan, Heilongjiang and Hebei have recently published similar statements asking their citizens not to leave or, for those outside the city, to postpone their return.

The Caixin economic newspaper reported this weekend that 33 Chinese cities have decreed total or partial lockdowns affecting more than 65 million people, despite the fact that the number of symptomatic active cases in the country is just 6,227, according to the health authorities.

The outbreaks threaten the high season for local tourism, which has been badly hit over the pandemic, a situation that is aggravated because the latest outbreaks have affected regions that are particularly popular with travelers such as the tropical island of Hainan, Yunnan and Tibet.

China has in recent months experienced waves of outbreaks attributed to the Omicron variant that have caused record numbers of infections not seen since the start of the pandemic.

For more than two years now, China has clung to its “zero-Covid” policy. Since the spring outbreaks, residents of large Chinese cities have had to undergo several weekly PCR tests to be able to enter public places and communities have been put into lockdown in when a case is detected.

The Asian giant remains closed to foreign tourism and maintains strict limits on international air traffic as well as mandatory quarantine periods for all international arrivals.

According to official data, since the start of the pandemic, 245,057 people have been infected in China and 5,226 have died, although the total cases exclude asymptomatic people. EFE


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