Chinese authorities locked down at least nine cities on the tourist island of Hainan on Aug. 8 as a COVID-19 outbreak was detected. Over 80,000 tourists and six professional soccer teams are unable to leave the far southern province and are facing higher hotel rates.
The lockdown has left the streets of Hainan’s capital, Haikou, and tourist city Sanya deserted and its beaches havens for sea birds.
The communist party’s “zero-tolerance” COVID-19 policies state that travelers can leave the island once they return five negative tests within the previous seven days. But no commercial passenger flights are operating between the island and the mainland. Tourists told China’s state-run media that they have been driven off airplanes after successfully boarding with all the necessary negative tests, right before the lockdown was announced on Aug. 6.
An Expanding LockdownThe Hainan provincial government announced on Aug. 8 that over 1,500 infections had been diagnosed in the province during the outbreak, which began on Aug. 1. On Monday, 77 new infections were diagnosed. Official reports said that more COVID-19 cases were still being detected amid the strict lockdown measures.
To curb the outbreak, the regime announced lockdowns for one city after another on the island. As of Monday afternoon, residents in Sanya, Wuzhishan, Haikou, Zhanzhou, Waning, Qionghai, Dongfang, Lingshui, and Chengmai were prohibited to leave their homes.
Shen then announced that the province will operate under “a wartime mode.”
The true COVID-19 infection rate in China is questioned by outsiders, due the regime’s history of coverups and non-transparency with uncensored data.
Frustrated TouristsBecause of its beaches and climate, Sanya is referred to as “China’s Hawaii.” On the afternoon of Aug. 6, a few hours after the regime had shut down all public transportation, Mayor He Shigang announced: “We estimated that over 80,000 tourists are stranded in Sanya.”
Ms. Wang is a Shanghai native. Her family was locked down at home for months this year under the regime’s “zero-tolerance” COVID-19 policies. After the Shanghai lockdown lifted, she quickly arranged the trip to Sanya for her family of five, which includes old parents and a young child.
Wang learned in the early hours of Aug. 6 that Sanya might suspend all public transportation. She bought the earliest flights back to Shanghai immediately.
In the end, Wang said, the plane wasn’t allowed to take off, and her family and the other passengers were forced to exit the aircraft along with the flight crew.
Stranded Soccer TeamsThe China national football team and six Chinese Super League soccer teams are also stranded in Haikou, state-run Beijing Youth reported on Aug. 8. The teams won’t be able to attend their scheduled matches.
The national team traveled to Haikou after finishing the EAFF E-1 Football Championship in Japan on July 28. Following the policy at the time, the players were quarantined in a hotel for ten days, to be released on Aug. 8. Now, they’re facing more time in lockdown.
Six super league teams are stuck in Haikou: Chengdu Rongcheng, Jinmen Tigers, Shandong Taishan, Hebei, Cangzhou Lions, and Guangzhou. They were there for round 12 of the league’s competition.
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has postponed the matches involving these six teams.