An outbreak of COVID-19 in Urumqi, Xinjiang, sparked authorities to close the city on Aug. 10. A large number of visitors flocked to the airport. Locals also got up in the middle of the night to buy groceries, some complained: “Notice was sent out at 3:50 am! Can you accept it?”
Residents received a lockdown notice the middle of the night, frantically looking for food
The Urumqi government made an announcement that, from 8 a.m. on Aug. 10, the districts of Tianshan, Shayibak, Shuimogou, high-tech park and the economic development zone of Toutunhe District, and Midong District will implement temporary static management measures, with an expected duration of five days. Static management is tantamount to shutting down the city.
The notice stated that the movement of people was strictly restricted in the local area, and all residents were asked not to go out unless absolutely necessary. At the same time, traffic controls were implemented; buses, taxis, and subways were suspended, public entertainment spots and scenic spots were temporarily closed.
The sudden closure of the city by Urumqi made people panic. Many people felt the need to get up in the middle of the night and rush to buy supplies.
“Which key area? Isn’t it closed already, at five in the morning, there’s chaos everywhere as people are buying rice and noodles…”
“Shanghai announced it was closed for 4 days, and finally closed for more than 2 months.”
In addition, NTDTV also cited some other comments:
“I started buying food at midnight.”
“If you don’t buy food, you won’t have food~ This situation has been repeated many times.”
“When I woke up, Urumqi closed the door again. My mother went to buy food at five in the morning and got nothing.”
“Can anyone recommend any software to buy food, is there any supermarket that has its own ordering platform. If I get up late and haven’t received it, I have half a bag of soy milk left at home.”
Online pictures show that many items on the supermarket shelves in Urumqi have been sold out.
Tourists arrive at the airport at night to flee
This is peak summer tourist season. Right after the news of Urumqi’s lockdown was announced, a large number of tourists rushed to the airport. Video and photos online show that Urumqi International Airport is packed with people, and airfares start to skyrocket.
One netizen lamented on Weibo: “I’m about to board a plane. Today, some major urban areas in Urumqi suddenly started to close, so tourists from all over Xinjiang are running to the airport and wanted to go home quickly.
Tourists also said that airfares have begun to increase rapidly, one said: “I just opened to see the plane ticket, from tomorrow the price will be more than tripled, if you are slow you will be ripped off with your ticket … “
Another netizen posted a picture of terminal 3 at the airport located in Diwopu (northwest of Urumqi city), packed with people and said: “According to the front passengers, it takes 30 minutes to check in at the premium check-in counter, and 45 minutes for an economy class flight.”
NTDTV quoted some other netizens reacting: “I’m at the airport too… I got the notification at 5:30 am and quickly ran out.”
“Like Lhasa, Tibet, the flight home is 1,300 yuan (about $246), and now it is rising to eight thousand yuan (nearly $1,200).”
China Central Television CCTV reported that on Aug. 10, several flights to and from Urumqi International Airport were canceled and some passengers were stranded. As of 11:00 on the same day, 75 flights had departed from Urumqi International Airport, with 10,000 people on the flights.
The airport has arranged 10 express trains, 12 public buses, and is expected to mobilize 1,800 taxis to evacuate passengers.
China’s tourism industry is affected by the outbreak of the disease
Urumqi in Xinjiang is another tourist city that has been closed due to the pandemic, after Sanya in Hainan and Lhasa in Tibet. The sudden lockdowns have caused the Chinese tourism industry to suffer a severe setback.
According to statistics from China Business News, 13 listed companies operating in tourist attractions suffered a total loss of more than $125 million (847 million yuan) in the first half of this year. In particular, the net profit of Huangshan Tourism, Guilin Tourism and Zhangjiajie decreased by nearly $15 million (more than 100 million yuan).
Due to the rapid decline in tourist arrivals, the recovery efficiency of these companies is facing major challenges.