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ABC News
ABC News

YouTuber shares 'holiday from hell' after COVID-19 outbreak in China's Sanya puts hotel into lockdown

Emotions ran high as tourists demanded to leave the hotel.

A British YouTuber is documenting his "holiday from hell" after his hotel was put into lockdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Chinese city of Sanya.

Located on Hainan Island in the South China Sea, Sanya is a popular holiday spot known for its beaches and has been described as the "Hawaii of China".

The tourist, Araf, works as a teacher in a bilingual school in Wuxi, Jiangsu province. 

He flew to China's tropical tourist island on August 3 for a holiday on the beach with his friends but has been unable to leave after the island went into lockdown to quell the outbreak.

In videos posted to his account, Araf's Adventures, he described the scenes unfolding at the hotel as "absolute madness".

Police and government officials stood outside the hotel, where tourists were trapped. (Reuters: Instagram @arafadventures)

His videos show a long line of officials dressed in PPE standing in a large semi-circle lining the entrance of the hotel, as well as a number of guests gathered in the lobby.

In the videos, he said people were trying to get out of the hotel after 11 positive cases were detected among hotel staff.

"Everyone's rebelling, everyone's protesting to get out of the hotel … just panicking, shouting and screaming," he said.

"The government and police had to come to control the situation and not let guests leave."

In another video from a hotel balcony, Araf pans across green palm trees, yellow sand and the blue sea.

"The sun's shining, sky's blue, and I am locked in," he said.

Araf went on a holiday with friends, but has been unable to enjoy the island's beauty due to a COVID outbreak.

Sanya has reported 3,305 symptomatic and 4,006 asymptomatic cases between August 1 and August 14.

That's up from the 689 symptomatic and 282 asymptomatic cases reported between August 1 and August 7. China records symptomatic and asymptomatic cases separately.

An estimated 80,000 tourists were stranded in the city when the lockdown started on August 6. 

It was reported last week that in order to leave the island, people must return five negative PCR tests over seven days. 

Beijing is pursuing a COVID-zero strategy, which has seen positive cases sent to quarantine centres and millions of people put into lockdown.

But under what Beijing is calling a "dynamic COVID-zero" policy, local governments have imposed shorter lockdowns where people were barred from unnecessary movements for a few days or weeks until clusters were contained.

The aim is to quickly stop each outbreak from spreading in lockdowns that are less drawn out than the two-month virus battle fought by Shanghai earlier this year.

But the growing spread of Omicron across China may lead to more cities being subject to such measures, along with the potential disruption to local businesses.

When asked about foreign companies investing in China and the business climate during the pandemic, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wengbin said on Friday China was optimistic.

"We believe that with measures being put in place to ensure safety against COVID and promote socio-economic development, the Chinese economy's great potential, strong resilience, robust vitality and enormous space will be further amplified," he said.


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