As China Daily reported, a local health official said the summer surge in tourists may have impacted Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region’s COVID outbreak.

The first case was detected on July 30 at the Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture. As of August 8, 420 asymptomatic COVID cases have been reported in the Xinjiang region, 338 of which are from Ili’s Yining city.

On Monday, August 8, local health authorities said that the current flare-up in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is driven by the Omicron sub-variant BA.5.2.

Cui Yan, deputy director of the commission, said, “The flow of people and cross-regional movement may have contributed to the transmission of the virus, and increased the risk of its spread inside and outside Xinjiang.”

The outbreaks have spread to 10 prefectures and prefecture-level cities in the region. 

Between July 30 to August 7, the Xinjiang region received almost 9 million visitors.

To curb the spread of the virus, authorities are now enforcing new lockdowns in several regions of Xinjiang.

According to Radio Free Asia, authorities have classified Xinjiang into 45 high-risk areas, 34 medium-risk areas, and nine low-risk areas due to increased COVID cases.

A recent video shows COVID control and prevention staff or ‘Dabai’ on the street in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture- the northern part of Xinjiang.

Ms. Li, a citizen of Yining, Ili Prefecture, told Xin Tang Ren that Ili Prefecture was put under lockdown. 

In many videos uploaded on the Internet, several people have to line up long queues waiting for their turn to be tested. Some even wait in the rain.

During the peak tourist season in Xinjiang, several tourists who initially intended to travel to Ili have changed their plans. As a result, other holiday spots become overcrowded. [Video 1:23- 1:47]

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