Shenzhen, China – August was supposed to have been the biggest travel month of the year outside of the Lunar New Year holiday period for most families in China. The beaches, resorts, hotels and theme parks were expected to be full.
Then new COVID-19 outbreaks, sparked by the introduction of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in the city of Nanjing late last month, brought most travel and tourism to a standstill.
China’s “COVID-zero” strategy of eliminating any cases in the country has now put millions under lockdown or limited their movement as local governments restrict travel regardless of whether cases have popped up in their jurisdictions or not.
On Thursday, China’s National Health Commission reported 81 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the mainland, compared with 111 the previous day. Government authorities also closed a terminal at Ningbo-Zhoushan port – the world’s third busiest container port – after a worker there became infected with COVID-19.
With Delta now spreading to more than half of the country’s 31 provinces, the economic impacts for tourism, service industries and domestic consumption will only deepen if those restrictions extend into September or possibly into the next major extended holiday for National Day at the start of October.