China closely monitoring situation in tourist hot spot, East Asia News & Top Stories

BEIJING • China reported 24 new coronavirus cases yesterday, up from 13 cases a day earlier, while the authorities were monitoring possible contacts in the tourism hot spot of Hainan.

There were five local cases and 19 imported infections on Saturday, according to a statement by the National Health Commission.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 14 from 17 a day earlier.

As at Saturday, China had 86,725 confirmed Covid-19 cases. The death toll remained at 4,634.

Two tourists visiting Sanya in Hainan, China’s southernmost island province, were found to be in close contact with an asymptomatic case in the city of Xi’an in the north-western Shaanxi province, after they had lunch together on Dec 9.

Hainan, known as the “Hawaii of China”, has been free of coronavirus for six months, drawing eager holidaymakers.

The two tourists and 43 other people who were in close contact are being quarantined in Sanya, according to a statement on the city’s official WeChat account.

China’s far western region of Xinjiang saw a sharp increase in local Covid-19 cases from mid-July to mid-August and another local wave from late October to early last month.

After the national day holidays in October, a new wave of the pandemic occurred with local cases first reported in Qingdao in eastern Shandong province.

Last month, sporadic cases in the districts of Shanghai and Tianjin and the Inner Mongolia region in the north were reported.

This month, more local cases have been reported in the provinces of Sichuan in the south-west of the country and Heilongjiang in the north-east.

REUTERS