Latest spike in Covid cases in China blocks tourists and restricts travel


The western province of Gansu is one of the hardest hit by China’s summer Covid outbreak. Pictured is a Red Cross volunteer spraying disinfectant in Dingxi, Gansu.

CGV | Visual Group China | Getty Images

BEIJING — The daily number of Covid cases in China has soared into the hundreds as summer vacation begins.

Many cases have affected places in central China, rather than economic hubs like Beijing and Shanghai. The number of infections in the Guangdong manufacturing hub has risen without there being any major restrictions on business yet.

However, sudden closures of businesses in a tourist area in the southwest region of Guangxi left more than 2,000 visitors stranded on Sunday, state media said. The report said local authorities would help tourists to leave.

On Monday, the city of Chengdu in southwestern Sichuan province ordered the temporary closure of bars, gyms and indoor entertainment venues for a week. While the city – known for its spicy cuisine – did not ban people from dining in restaurants, authorities said they were encouraging people to order delivery or takeout instead.

Mainland China reported 108 new Covid cases with symptoms and 827 without symptoms for Tuesday. The western province of Gansu and Guangxi accounted for the majority, but at least a handful of cases have been reported in 12 other provincial-level regions.

The spike to hundreds of cases a day has only happened in the last week and a half. The continent reported no new deaths from Covid during this period.

From late June, the central government began to ease quarantine measures. The capital, Beijing, has eased restrictions on entering the city from other parts of China.

But domestic visitors from the capital or different parts of China may still need to quarantine for a week upon arrival depending on the presence of Covid in their travel history.

In the first half of the year, domestic tourist trips fell 22.2 percent from a year ago to 1.46 billion, according to the tourism ministry. A quarterly breakdown was not available, although the report said the second quarter was heavily impacted by Covid.

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