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China eases Covid suspension for international flights

Lamya Abdulla
07 August 2022, MVT 14:41
(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 26, 2022, health workers conduct Covid-19 coronavirus testing at a makeshift testing site in Zhongguancun in Beijing. - Hazmat-suited workers poke plastic swabs down millions of throats in China each day, leaving bins bursting with medical waste that has become the environmental and economic levy of a zero-Covid strategy. -- Photo: Jade Gao / AFP
Lamya Abdulla
07 August 2022, MVT 14:41

China on Sunday shortened its suspension period for inbound international flights carrying Covid-positive passengers, signalling that Beijing could soon ease its strict border controls.

Incoming flights carrying five positive Covid-19 cases, or four percent of the total passengers, will now face a reduced one-week suspension, the Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) said in a statement.

Previously, if a plane brought in five infected passengers, all flights operated by the responsible airline along the same route were suspended for two weeks.

Flights logging an eight percent passengers positivity rate will be barred for two weeks, CAAC said.

The so-called circuit breaker mechanism has led to travel chaos, with flights into China being cancelled abruptly without the ability to rebook for weeks.

China is the only major economy still holding fast to a zero-Covid strategy with snap lockdowns and long quarantines.

The country's borders have also remained largely closed since early 2020, halting international tourism.

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese students and workers abroad have been left stranded and complained about paying exorbitant prices to buy tickets back home, with the limited number of flights entering the country routinely suspended.

© Agence France-Presse

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