- Fujian reports 152 local confirmed cases since September 10th
- Parts of China that discourage non-essential travel
- State media warns against general orders to remain seated
BEIJING, September 15 (Reuters) – China’s COVID -19 outbreak in Fujian province, which has reported 152 local cases in five days, has prompted cities in other parts of the country to issue travel warnings ahead of major holidays, even though state media warns against laying carpet of curbs.
The travel warnings come ahead of the week-long National Day holiday, which starts on October 1, a major tourist season, as well as a shorter autumn festival holiday next week.
The last outbreak in July-August, when there were strict movement restrictions in some cities, affected tourism, hospitality and transport sectors and slowed down the growth in retail sales significantly. Read more
Although all new local cases in China since September 10 have only been reported in the southeastern province of Fujian, the northeastern city of Jilin as well as Maoming and Guangzhou in the south have warned people against non-essential trips out of their provinces. Shanxi and Heilongjiang provinces have also given similar advice.
The towns of Chifeng and Hohhot in the northern autonomous region of Inner Mongolia have advised residents to stay during the holidays, while Xian in Shaanxi province told residents to avoid leaving the city for unnecessary reasons.
But the state tabloid Global Times said in an editorial on Wednesday that local officials should not casually advocate ordinary orders to stay seated or make such advocacy a requirement.
“We need to gradually improve the exact efficiency of our dynamic zero-case route,” the newspaper said.
“We should avoid a complete halt on a large scale. We need to strive for early detection of each outbreak. We also need to ensure that we can contain it more quickly so that it will cause less harm to society.”
Julian Evans-Pritchard, China’s senior economist at Capital Economics, said China’s services sector is expected to recover strongly from August, but efforts to stem the Fujian eruption could disrupt upcoming holidays, a key period for consumption.
He also warned of a risk of new disruptions in the supply chains, as Fujian is an important trading hub.
The National Health Commission said Wednesday that 50 new locally transmitted cases were reported on Sept. 14 against 59 infections a day earlier. Everyone was in Fujian.
That brings the total number of local infections in the three Fujian cities of Putian where the outbreak began, Xiamen and Quanzhou to 152.
About 30,000 people traveled from Putian to other provinces from August 26 to September 10, state television said Monday, citing estimates by health officials, raising concerns about infection.
Zeng Shidian, director of the Wenzhou Disease Control and Prevention Center in Zhejiang province north of Fujian, was quoted in local media as saying that there is a “high” risk that the city will see some imported cases from Putian and other parts of Fujian due to the movement of people and goods.
Wenzhou urges residents not to travel to Fujian during the upcoming holidays. The city said Tuesday it will close indoor eateries for half a month.
By September 14, mainland China had registered 95,413 confirmed cases.
Reporting by Ryan Woo, Roxanne Liu, Stella Qiu and Liangping Gao; Edited by Christian Schmollinger and Michael Perry
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