TIGHER social restrictions in China to combat the latest COVID-19 outbreak, now in its fourth week and involving more than a dozen cities, have hit the services sector, especially travel and hospitality, in the world’s second-largest economy.

Quoted from Reuters reported, China has refrained from carrying out complete lockdowns in major cities as seen in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in Hubei province. This is so that the economy is not completely paralyzed.

“The current wave has led to the re-imposition of much stricter social distancing measures, which will significantly hurt the transportation, tourism and other services sectors,” Citi analysts wrote in a note Wednesday (8/11).

“We now expect the full recovery of the services sector to be further delayed into the fourth quarter,” Citi added.

Ding, who operates a 15-room inn in the western highlands of Sichuan province, said he expects an occupancy rate of at least 80% on weekdays between late July and early August. But with eight local infections detected in Sichuan, the true occupancy rate is 20%-30%.

“When the summer trip started in July, he received a 300,000-yuan booking that month. Now, in August, 100,000-yuan will be very hard to come by,” said Ding. [antaranews/photo special]