Fujian Covid-19 Outbreak Leads Chinese Authorities To Impose Lockdown And Travel Restrictions

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Sep 15, 2021 11:53 AM
Fujian Covid-19 Outbreak Leads Chinese Authorities To Impose Lockdown And Travel Restrictions Covid-19 cases rising in China.
Snapshot
  • China's southeastern province of Fujian has become the focus of the country's latest COVID-19 outbreak.

    Fujian has reported a total of 152 local cases in five days. The concerning number of cases has prompted several cities to issue travel restrictions and tighten lockdown measures ahead of holidays.

China has tightened lockdown measures and increased orders for mass testing in cities along its east coast in response to the latest surge in novel coronavirus cases.

China's southeastern province of Fujian has become the focus of the country's latest COVID-19 outbreak. Toll stations throughout the city of Putian in Fujian province have been subjected to checks, with a dozen of them completely shut down. As the Delta variant spreads through the region, the neighbouring cities of Xiamen and Quanzhou have also imposed travel restrictions.

As reported, Fujian has reported a total of 152 local cases in five days. The concerning number of cases has prompted several cities in the country to issue travel restrictions ahead of holidays. On 13 September, authorities declared lockdown in Xiamen, China’s southeastern city in Fujian province.

These restrictions come ahead of the National Day holiday, which begins on 1 October and runs for a week, as well as the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, which falls next week.

The last Covid-19 outbreak between July and August, which saw stringent mobility restrictions in several locations, impacted the tourism, hospitality, and transportation industries, as well as hindered retail sales growth dramatically.

Although all new local cases in China since 10 September have been reported in southeastern Fujian province, the northeastern city of Jilin, as well as Maoming and Guangzhou in the south, have warned residents against taking non-essential journeys beyond their areas. Similar warnings have been issued by the provinces of Shanxi and Heilongjiang. Meanwhile, people in the cities of Chifeng and Hohhot in Inner Mongolia's northern autonomous territory have been encouraged to remain put during the holidays, while residents in Shaanxi province have been cautioned to avoid leaving town for unimportant reasons.

However, in an editorial published on 15 September, the state-run media Global Times stated that local officials should neither casually support sweeping orders to stay put or make such campaigning a mandate. It noted that “we need to gradually enhance the accurate efficiency of our dynamic zero-case route. We should avoid a complete halt on a large scale. We have to strive for early detection of each outbreak. We also need to make sure that we can contain it faster so that it will cause less harm to the society.”

According to Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, the services sector in China was anticipated to bounce significantly from August, but measures to curb the Fujian outbreak may interrupt the approaching holidays, a major period for consumption. Additionally, he warned that because Fujian is a key trade hub, there is a potential for new supply chain disruptions.

However, as per the National Health Commission, 50 new locally transmitted cases were reported on 14 September, compared to 59 illnesses the day before—and they were all in Fujian. While citing health officials' estimations and raising fears of infection, reports said that between 26 August and 10 September, about 30,000 people travelled from Putian to neighbouring provinces.

Zeng Shidian, head of the Disease Control and Prevention Centre in Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province north of Fujian, said due to the mobility of people and products, there is a "high" probability of the city seeing some imported cases from Putian and other regions of Fujian. Wenzhou residents are being advised not to travel to Fujian for the holidays. The city announced on 14 September that indoor entertainment venues would be closed for a month.

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