Authorities strive to comfort stranded tourists

Updated: Oct 26, 2021 China Daily Print
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As a new wave of COVID-19 has appeared in some travel destinations on the nation's border, local authorities in the affected areas have tightened control measures to curb its further expansion and assist stranded tourists.

Ejine Banner in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, which has so far reported 43 confirmed cases, said on Sunday night that residents and tourists should suspend outdoor activities and start quarantine beginning on Monday.

People whose activities have a severe impact on the enforcement of epidemic management measures will be investigated by the authorities, according to the announcement.

The local authorities in Ejine Banner have also made efforts to assist tourists stranded in the area. A total of 9,412 visitors are currently in Ejine Banner, as it is the peak season for people to appreciate the desert poplar trees that are common in the area.

The banner's government started providing daily necessities and free services to the stranded tourists on Friday, and hotel prices in the area have been capped at 200 yuan ($31) per night.

Pharmaceutical services, such as online inquiries and the free delivery of medicines, are also available to the stranded tourists, around half of whom are older than 60.

A stranded traveler surnamed Ren from Xi'an, Shaanxi province, said that he felt relieved that the local authorities were assisting with the free delivery of medicines.

"Many of my peers are around their 60 and 70s, and most of them have diseases like hypertension and diabetes. It's very nice of the authorities in Ejine Banner to help us and send us medicines," he said.

The Ningxia Hui autonomous region, another popular travel destination involved in the new wave of COVID-19 outbreaks, is offering medical services to the 1,943 travelers stranded in the cities of Shizuishan, Lingwu and Zhongwei.

Shizuishan's culture and tourism bureau said there are 685 tourists stranded in the city-the oldest is 84 and the youngest is 4.

To better serve the stranded travelers, the local government has set up stands offering daily supplies and medicines at their quarantine venues. Four clinicians and a psychologist have been assigned to assist the stranded tourists, who have also received down jackets courtesy of the city's authorities.

While visiting Ningxia on Sunday, Ma Xiaowei, head of the National Health Commission, said that controlling and preventing the novel coronavirus remains the priority of the government's work, and this should not be relaxed.

He urged the authorities to improve their work in containing the sporadic outbreaks and trying to curb their expansion.

To help block the further transmission of the virus, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism released an emergency announcement on Saturday that urged travel agencies and online travel services providers to suspend any cross-provincial tours and services of booking air tickets and hotels whenever the listed destination is an area at medium or high risk of infection.

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