Visitors Constrained in Xinjiang After a Regional COVID-19 Outbreak

By Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li is a reporter for The Epoch Times based in Europe.
October 4, 2021 Updated: October 4, 2021

Travelers in China’s far-western Xinjiang region are currently confined to hotels and awaiting nucleic acid tests amid a regional COVID-19 outbreak.

The Xinjiang Health Commission confirmed on Oct. 4 that two asymptomatic individuals tested positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, in Khorgas of Ili prefecture, a city bordering Kazakhstan.

The reported number of infections may not accurately reflect the total, given the Chinese regime’s record of underreporting its true case numbers.

Flights and trains connected to Ili prefecture have been halted since Sunday evening, the state-backed Beijing Youth Daily reported on Monday, citing the panel tasked with preventing and controlling pandemics in Ili prefecture.

People who travel to Ili during the seven-day holiday cannot leave the prefecture and must wait for the nucleic acid tests, the report said. It didn’t mention when the restriction would be lifted.

The sudden travel ban and strict containment measures left many people stranded at the train station. “Currently, [we] suggest they find accommodation, not to go out, and wait for further notice,” a staff member told Beijing Youth Daily.

Two residents in Khorgas told NTD, an affiliate of The Epoch Times, that the authorities have placed the whole city under lockdown since Sunday. Travelers and local residents are quarantined at home as well.

A hotel staff member surnamed Wang told NTD that many travelers are currently living in the hotel due to the lockdown.

Another hotel’s owner surnamed Zhang said guests in his hotels are also trapped here.

“All the shops are closed, and you won’t see anyone on the street,” Zhang told NTD.

Flights from several other cities in Xinjiang were also affected, according to Umetrip, the country’s popular flight information app.

The regime is mass testing the entire city, with 192 close contacts being placed under quarantine on Sunday.

A week-long holiday starting Oct. 1 to mark the anniversary of the CCP’s one-party rule is traditionally one of the busiest times for domestic travel.

Xinjiang, the home to China’s Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups, is among the country’s most popular destinations for its unique cultures and beautiful natural scenery. The international community has accused the communist regime of carrying out mass detentions and human rights abuses in the region.

Topics related to authorities barring tourists from leaving Xinjiang topped trending hashtags on Sunday evening on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.

Meanwhile, people who had traveled back from Ili prefecture after Sept. 19 were told to report to local authorities immediately, following orders to receive nucleic acid tests and go into quarantine, according to a notice from central Zhengzhou city on Monday. Several other cities across the country released similarly worded notices.

Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li is a reporter for The Epoch Times based in Europe.