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Chinese Gansu province closes tourist sites following COVID-19 virus cases

BEIJING (AP) — A northwestern Chinese province heavily dependent on tourism closed all tourist sites Monday after finding new COVID-19 cases.

Gansu province lies along the ancient Silk Road and is famed for the Dunhuang grottoes filled with Buddhist images and other religious sites.

The National Health Commission said 35 new cases of local transmission had been detected over the past 24 hours, four of them in Gansu.

This photo released by Xinhua News Agency shows an aerial view of residents lining up to receive a swab for the coronavirus test during a mass testing in Lanzhou, capital city of northwest China’s Gansu Province, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. China’s Gansu has closed all tourist sites following the reporting of new COVID-19 cases in the northwestern province. Gansu lies along the ancient Silk Road and is famed for the Dunhuang grottoes filled with Buddhist images and other ancient religious sites. (Fan Peishen/Xinhua via AP)

Another 19 cases were found in the Inner Mongolia region, with others spread across several provinces and cities. Residents in parts of Inner Mongolia have been ordered to stay indoors.

Despite having largely stamped out cases of local infection, China maintains a zero-tolerance policy toward the pandemic, characterized by lockdowns, quarantines and compulsory testing for the virus.

The spread of the delta variant by travelers and tour groups is of particular concern ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February. Overseas spectators already are banned, and participants will have to stay in a bubble separating them from people outside.

Authorities in the capital said on Sunday people arriving from places with recent infections would need to show a negative virus test result and give regular health reports.

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