According to Reuters, on August 9, Tibet reported new COVID cases.
On August 8, local authorities registered one local patient with symptoms and 21 local asymptomatic cases. Therefore, different parts of the region, including its two largest cities of Lhasa and Shigatse, had to launch mass testing under China’s stringent Zero-COVID policy.
All religious and entertainment venues and tourist spots were closed, including the renowned Potala Palace, one of the world’s largest palaces, and large gatherings were prohibited.
Residents were quite surprised, as just a single case was found in this tourist hub at the onset of the pandemic in early 2020.
Yungchen, a 26-year-old Lhasa resident, told Reuters, “Although my life and work aren’t affected much, and Lhasa took actions very quickly, I was still quite shocked, as Tibet had been COVID-free for about 920 days,”
The Lhasa female resident also decided to stock up on rice and cooking oil for 4-5 days just in case the city decided to follow a Shanghai-style lockdown.
The outlet, citing state television, reported that both Lhasa and Shigatse began the second round of mass testing on August 10. In Tibet’s western Ngari prefecture, three towns have already completed 3 rounds of mass testing, while the rest have just begun their first.
Reuters noted that China’s largest tropical holiday spot of Hainan, like Tibet, also had several few over the past 2 years. Now, millions of its residents are under lockdown and can only go out for COVID tests, grocery shopping, and essential work.
Chinese media outlet The Paper reported that nearly 178,000 tourists are currently stranded on the tropical island. The local regulators did not notify when the measures will be lifted but said tourists wanting to leave would have to show several negative nucleic acid test results.