China issues fresh travel warnings after COVID-19 outbreak in Fujiuan province

 Thursday, September 16, 2021

The COVID-19 outbreak in Fujian province of China, which has reported 152 local cases in five days, has prompted cities in other parts of the country to issue a fresh travel warning ahead of major upcoming holidays, though state media warn against imposing blanket travel curbs.

The travel warnings come ahead of the week-long National Day holiday starting from October 1, a major tourist season, as well as a shorter Mid-Autumn Festival holiday next week.

The last outbreak in July-August, which saw strict movement restrictions in some cities, hit tourism, hospitality and transportation sectors and significantly slowed retail sales growth.

Even though all new local cases in China since September 10 were reported in southeastern Fujian province only, the north-eastern city of Jilin, as well as Maoming and Guangzhou in the south, have advised people against non-essential trips out of their provinces. Shanxi and Heilongjiang provinces have also made similar advisories.

The cities of Chifeng and Hohhot in the northern autonomous region of Inner Mongolia have advised residents to stay put during the holidays, while Xian in Shaanxi province told residents to avoid leaving town for unnecessary reasons.

Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, said that the industrial services sector in China was expected to rebound strongly from August, but efforts to contain the Fujian outbreak may disrupt the upcoming holidays, a key period for consumption. He also warned of the risk of fresh disruptions to supply chains since Fujian is a major trade hub.

The National Health Commission said on Wednesday that 50 new locally transmitted cases were reported for Sept. 14, compared with 59 infections a day earlier. All of them were 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 travelled from Putian to other provinces from August 26 to September 10, state television reported on Monday citing estimates from health authorities, stirring concerns of contagion.

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