BEIJING, Sept 15 (Reuters) - China's COVID-19 outbreak in Fujian province, which has reported 152 local cases in five days, has prompted cities in other parts of the country to issue travel warnings ahead of major holidays, though state media warn against imposing blanket travel curbs.
The travel warnings come ahead of the week-long National Day holiday starting on Oct. 1, a major tourist season, as well as a shorter Mid-Autumn Festival holiday next week.
The last outbreak in July-August, which saw strict movement restrictions in some cities, hit tourism, hospitality and transportation sectors and significantly slowed retail sales growth.
Even though all new local cases in China since Sept. 10 were reported in southeastern Fujian province only, the northeastern city of Jilin, as well as Maoming and Guangzhou in the south, have advised people against non-essential trips out of their provinces. Shanxi and Heilongjiang provinces have also made similar advisories.
The cities of Chifeng and Hohhot in the northern autonomous region of Inner Mongolia have advised residents to stay put during the holidays, while Xian in Shaanxi province told residents to avoid leaving town for unnecessary reasons.
But state tabloid Global Times said in an editorial on Wednesday that local officials should not casually advocate blanket orders to stay put or turn such advocacy into a requirement.
"We need to gradually enhance the accurate efficiency of our dynamic zero-case route," the newspaper said.
"We should avoid a complete halt on a large scale. We have to strive for early detection of each outbreak. We also need to make sure that we can contain it faster so that it will cause less harm to the society."
Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, said China's services sector was expected to rebound strongly from August, but efforts to contain the Fujian outbreak may disrupt the upcoming holidays, a key period for consumption.
He also warned of a risk of fresh disruptions to supply chains since Fujian is a major trade hub.