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China's Xiamen city tells residents to stay home as COVID-19 infection spreads

China's Xiamen city tells residents to stay home as COVID-19 infection spreads

People line up to get nucleic acid tests at a testing site in Xiamen, Fujian province, China on Sep 14, 2021. (Photo: China Daily via Reuters)

BEIJING: A city in south-east China hit by COVID-19 told residents on Saturday (Sep 18) to stay home and closed various venues, as infections spread in the country's latest hotspot during a key holiday travel season.

The government of Xiamen, in a series of notices, told residents not to leave home unnecessarily, closed parks, scenic spots and sports venues, and halted mass activities including tours, fairs and performances.

The measures - short of a full lockdown - came on the first of the four-day Mid-Autumn Festival holidays, a peak travel season across China.

Xiamen, a scenic city of 5 million, is one of four cities in the Fujian province - China's latest coronavirus hotspot - that have reported cases in recent days.

Visitors to Xiamen's residential compounds are not allowed without approval, non-essential vehicle traffic in and out of residential areas is forbidden, and dining in at restaurants, cafes and other venues is prohibited.

Also a transport hub for southeast China, Xiamen has reported 92 locally transmitted infections in the past week. That is about half the number of nearby Putian, where the first infection in this outbreak was reported on Sep 10.

The first patient in the Xiamen cluster was a close contact of a case in Putian, Xiamen authorities said on Monday.

Both cities kicked off city-wide testing for the coronavirus on Tuesday.

Since Sep 10, Fujian province has reported 292 community infections.

The outbreak comes ahead of the week-long National Day holiday starting on Oct 1, a far busier tourist season than the Mid-Autumn festival.

The last domestic outbreak in late July to August spread to tens of Chinese cities, hammering China's tourism, hospitality and transportation sectors.

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Source: Reuters/aj

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