Commercial domestic flights resume in China's resort city of Sanya
By He Weiwei
Commercial flights resumed starting from Monday after being suspended for over one week in Sanya, a major tourism hub in Hainan Province.
The island province of Hainan in southern China is now the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. Over 10,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the province since the outbreak on August 6. Rising cases have stranded at least 80,000 tourists in Sanya.
Thanks to the resumption of domestic flights, tourists can leave after necessary tests and applications.
"The process is smooth. We do the nucleic acid test every day. And now I've got my permission to leave by plane. I'll need to quarantine at home after returning to my city of Chengdu," a passenger said while waiting at the airport to check in.
Another passenger expressed her gratitude to the local government: "The hotel sent us to the airport on shuttle buses, it was good. I feel excited to be able to fly home finally. Thank you, Hainan!"
A total of 40 flights were available on the first day of resumption, heading to destinations across China. Among the 80,000 stranded tourists, more than a quarter had been sent back home via chartered flights. The provincial government said it's working on increasing flight capacity.
"We have arranged 40 flights on Monday, and 90 flights per day for Tuesday and Wednesday. We've also helped another 1,700 passengers from neighboring cities and counties to fly home via other airports in the province," Wang Liming, deputy director of Hainan Provincial Department of Tourism, Culture, Radio, Television & Sports announced at a daily press conference on Monday.
Meanwhile more transportation options are gradually opening for other stranded passengers to leave the island province, including trains and ferries. Some 870 more tourists stranded in Haikou City, the provincial capital, left by ferries on Tuesday.