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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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    China races to contain COVID outbreaks in Tibet, Hainan

    CNA – China raced yesterday to stamp out COVID-19 outbreaks in the tourist hubs of Tibet and Hainan, with the authorities launching more rounds of mass testing and closing venues to contain the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

    Mainland China reported 828 new domestically transmitted cases across more than a dozen provinces and regions for Monday, with over half of them in Hainan, a highly popular tourist destination, official data showed yesterday.

    Tibet, which until now had reported only one symptomatic case since the pandemic started more than two years ago, also reported cases.

    Parts of Tibet were running mass COVID-19 testing yesterday, including its two largest cities Lhasa and Shigatse, where local authorities suspended large events, closed entertainment and religious venues, and shut some tourist sites including the Potala Palace.

    Tibetan authorities reported one local patient with confirmed symptoms and 21 local asymptomatic infections on Monday.

    Residents and tourists queue to undergo nucleic acid tests for Covid-19 in Sanya in China’s southern Hainan province. PHOTO: AFP

    Shigatse, a gateway city to the Everest region in Tibet, scheduled a “silent period” lasting three days during which people are banned from entering or leaving, and many businesses suspended.

    Both Lhasa and Shigatse were conducting a fresh round of mass testing, and the second round begins today, state television said yesterday.

    In Tibet’s western Ngari prefecture, a sparsely populated region that attracted many pilgrims to Mount Kailash, three towns started three rounds of mass testing, while the rest have started on their first, state television said.

    Subvariants of Omicron are challenging China’s strategy of swiftly blocking the spread of each nascent cluster.

    Tibet and Hainan, which have seen relatively few cases for more than two years, are now facing risks of persistent tight restrictions as the economy weakens. Their tourism-reliant economies could be particularly vulnerable if the outbreaks are prolonged.

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