Thu, 28 Sep 2023

© Provided by Xinhua

SANYA, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in Sanya, a coastal resort city in south China's Hainan Province, is moving fast to cater to the needs of 80,000-plus stranded tourists after a sudden COVID-19 cluster outbreak.

"Hello, please have some fresh fruit, and we wish that you have a nice day!" At Howard Johnson Resort Sanya Bay, a five-star hotel, volunteers knock on doors to deliver fruit to stranded airport passengers.

"No one wants this to happen," said Sun Jingjing from Henan Province. "But it's best to stay put and follow the local quarantine policy. We hope we can return home soon."

Sun is among more than 3,000 tourists stranded as their flights were canceled under the static management due to the recent COVID-19 flare-up. They were later arranged by local authorities to temporarily settle down in 11 hotels for a week in Sanya.

Zhu Ruoyu, general manager of the hotel, said tourists came to enjoy a holiday, and no one wants to deal with the realities of the outbreak. "So we try to be more considerate in service and respond timely to their inquiries," said Zhu.

This is the first time for Anastasia Rochelle Naidoo, a native of South Africa, to visit Sanya.

"I think generally, especially with this hotel, things have been handled quite well and they've been very helpful. So we're just going with the flow," said Naidoo, adding that the government is acting fast, too.

From Aug. 1 to 8, Sanya had logged more than 1,500 new infections of COVID-19.

A task force was established to resolve issues faced by the city's stranded tourists, such as travel refunds. The city has also asked hotels to offer 50 percent discounts for stranded guests. Tourists whose nucleic acid tests maintain negative for seven days can leave after further evaluation.

Epidemiological investigations and gene sequencing analysis show that the current outbreak was caused by the Omicron subvariant BA.5., according to Jin Yuming, chief expert of the Hainan Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Omicron subvariant BA.5 is becoming the dominant strain of COVID-19 across the world and is causing cluster infections in China, according to a Chinese health official last month.

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