Beihai, a popular summer vacation destination in the Guangxi region known for its white-sand beaches and volcanic island, has reported more than 500 infections in the past week — a major outbreak by Chinese standards.
On Saturday, Beihai’s government locked down parts of the city where the city’s resorts and tourist attractions are located – ordering mass testing and banning residents from leaving their homes.
Mass Covid restrictions have reached Weizhou Island, a remote island more than an hour away by boat, famous for its scenic coastline and beaches. As of Friday, tourists were ordered to leave the island and hotels and guesthouses were ordered to refund guests unconditionally.
On Sunday, Weizhou Island closed all entertainment venues, from bars, movie theaters and massage parlors to swimming pools. Scenic places on the island are also closed.
At a press conference on Sunday, local authorities said more than 2,000 tourists stranded in Beihai would be treated according to their Covid risk levels: those who had not been in medium or high-risk areas and those who had not been identified. if a direct or secondary contact of an infected person can show a negative Covid test, they are allowed to leave; others will have to stay in the city and undergo quarantine.
Two officials in the city have been suspended for failing to take adequate measures to prevent the spread of the virus, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Many top tourist destinations were hoping to see more visitors over the summer holidays, but Omicron’s new transferable subs have put local governments under more pressure to control Covid outbreaks.
On Sunday, China reported nearly 600 local infections – the highest increase since May. At least 16 states across the country have identified locally transmitted cases of Covid so far this month, according to the National Health Commission.
Macau’s government said on Saturday it would extend a global lockdown until July 22 as the gambling hub struggles to contain its biggest-ever Covid outbreak.
Macau closed its casinos on July 11, barring residents from leaving their homes except for essential activities such as grocery shopping. About 1,700 infections have been reported since mid-June.
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