(Yicai Global) Aug. 9 -- The first charter flights that will take home thousands of tourists stranded on China’s southern island province of Hainan due to a local Covid-19 outbreak began arriving in the beach resort of Sanya today.
The scheduled flights will take the holidaymakers from Sanya Phoenix International Airport to the cities of Xi’an, Chengdu and Shanghai.
At noon today, the first group, taking a flight chartered by Hainan Airlines to Xi’an in Shaanxi province, had their identities and negative Covid test results verified at hotels in Haitang Bay, Sanya, Yicai Global learned.
China Southern Airlines will have two flights from Sanya to Shanghai. But the details of its flights to Chengdu in Sichuan province have not yet been clarified.
The restrictions imposed by the local authorities due to a flareup of Covid have grounded tourists who planned to leave the island. Known as ‘China’s Hawaii,’ tourism-dependent Hainan had more than 170,000 visitors from outside as of 12 p.m. on Aug. 7, about 57,000 of whom were in Sanya.
Since the afternoon of Aug. 6, there have been no regular passenger flights in and out of Sanya. Only medical teams and chartered planes carrying essential items have arrived.
The Hainan government said yesterday that it aims to achieve zero transmission of Covid in the community by Aug. 12. At the same time, from today, the authorities have arranged for tourists to leave the island in groups, starting with Sanya, while strictly preventing infections.
The province reported 32 locally transmitted daily Covid-19 cases at noon today. It has reported a total of 1,314 cases in this wave of the infection since Aug. 1.
Editor: Peter Thomas