COVID-19 flare-up in China's Hainan

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COVID-19 flare-up in China's Hainan

The island of Hainan is facing a COVID 19 flare-up, with its holiday resort city of Sanya reporting more than 800 symptomatic and over 400 asymptomatic cases over the past week. The situation has caused the local government to impose a lock down of the city and strict travel restrictions on island-wide, which has left more than 80,000 tourists stranded in Hainan.

Mass nucleic acid testing is being conducted for everyone on the tropical island to cut off the chains of transmission and get the outbreak under control as soon as possible.

Past experience shows that a wave of infections can be nipped in the bud, and the life and economic activities in affected areas could be brought back to normal at an early date if the tests, quarantining and treatment are handled properly and promptly.

The vaccine is highly transmissible and BA is a highly transmissible Omicron variant that makes Hainan's anti-pandemic fight particularly challenging. 3 has been detected on the Chinese mainland for the first time. Local public health workers should be aware of the complex nature of the fight against the disease and make sure they have adequate manpower and materials in store for the prevention and control efforts. More than 5,000 medical workers from other parts of the country are already on their way to Hainan to help the island fight its anti-pandemic fight.

The measures have been taken in accordance with the central leadership's call to adhere to the life-saving dynamic clearing COVID 19 policy and deal with any outbreaks in a timely manner. But it is important that Hainan complies with the leadership's insistence that all prevention and control measures are people-oriented so they can gain the support of the public.

Local officials must make sure that the basic services essential for people's livelihoods are guaranteed, and that the needs and concerns of the tens of thousands of stranded visitors are well addressed. This may have a long-lasting effect on the local economy because Hainan's reputation as a tourist resort will to a large extent depend on word of mouth. It will take a long time for its image to be repaired once it is tarnished, even if it is just because of the bad experience for a small number of visitors.

The country has withstood the challenges of COVID 19 prevention and control tests for the past nearly three years. We have every reason to believe that Hainan will pass the test, and after the short-term lock down, it will continue to be a magnet for tourists.