Five cities in COVID-19 hit S. China’s Hainan Province to resume fishing
Published: Aug 22, 2022 09:23 PM
Fishing boats berth at Zhapo port of Hailing island in Yangjiang city, south China's Guangdong Province, Aug. 15, 2022. (Photo: China News Service/Chen Jimin)
Fishing boats berth at Zhapo port of Hailing island in Yangjiang city, south China's Guangdong Province, Aug. 15, 2022. (Photo: China News Service/Chen Jimin)

Five cities and counties in the COVID-19 hit South China's Hainan Province will gradually resume fishing starting from Tuesday as local outbreak eyes a turning point. Fishing boats and ports in the province had previously been halted since trade with overseas fishermen as this was suspected of having triggered the local COVID-19 outbreak earlier this month.

The COVID-19 situation across the province has made steady improvement, with some cities reporting zero new cases for days. To reduce epidemic's impact on fishermen, the province decided to gradually allow fishing boats back to the sea in batches, one official from the provincial anti-epidemic command center said at Monday's press conference. 

The local outbreak has seen a turning point, with a decline in daily new infections in the past four days. On Sunday the province registered 685 positive cases, local authorities said.

Five cities and counties are among the first batch to resume fishing - Wenchang, Haikou, Qionghai, Chengmai and Changjiang. Other seven coastal cities will also allow fishermen back to the sea when they meet the anti-epidemic requirements. 

The following three mandatory conditions must be met: the city has reported zero community infections for more than 72 hours and being none-epidemic region or low risk region for COVID-19. Fishermen must have no travel histories to high-risk and medium-risk regions, and hold a negative nucleic acid testing result taken within 48 hours. 

A manager from a Hainan Wenchang's wharf told the Global Times on Monday that fishermen are eager to put out to sea, while the staffs are ready to collect and sell the fish. Port staffs and fishermen in Wenchang have conducted seven nucleic acid tests in coordination with local prevention measures. 

Under the impact of the COVID outbreak earlier this month, the number of fishing boats has decreased a lot. Less seafood is coming to markets, so local prices of marine products will rise accordingly, Fu said.

Since August 6, all ports and fishing boats were under static management, after trade with overseas fishermen was reportedly suspected of having triggered the COVID-19 outbreak in Sanya earlier this month.

In the wake of the Sanya's outbreak that links with epidemic overseas, China's southern coastal regions, including Hainan, have rolled out a slew of measures to maintain fishermen into closed-loop management when they sail to the sea for sea products. 

Before they depart to the sea, fishermen should report to the fishery authorities in advance and sign a commitment that they won't get in contact with fishing boats and fishermen from overseas countries or have trade with them.

Fishermen must make an appointment when they are about to be back to ports. Later when they reach the port, they would be given nucleic acid testing and their boats would go through disinfection. Frozen sea products will also be tested.

These similar anti-epidemic measures were implemented among many provinces since the three-and-half-month fishing moratorium for the South China Sea had ended in August 16, such as South China's Guangdong Province.

Huang Ziting contributed to the story