China slashes worldwide flights in effort to curb coronavirus risk

Elias Hubbard
March 26, 2020

In view of the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the world, China has made a decision to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits still valid to the time of this announcement, effective from 0:00 a.m. on March 28, 2020, a statement jointly released by Chinese Foreign Ministry and the National Immigration Administration said.

"To resolutely contain the increasing risks of imported COVID-19 cases, and in accordance with the requirements of the State Council for joint prevention and control of the pandemic, [the regulator] has chose to further reduce the number of global passenger flights", the CAAC said.

"The suspension is a temporary measure that China is compelled to take in light of the outbreak situation and the practices of other countries", the ministry said in its statement.

China on Thursday reported 67 new cases of coronavirus infection among people arriving from overseas, but no new instances of local transmission for the second day in a row, prompting the country's authorities to effectively ban the entry of all foreigners.

The most of the 500 imported infections involved Chinese nationals returning home, according to the foreign affairs ministry.

Effective from March 29, all domestic airlines will be allowed to operate only one flight to each country per week, while foreign airlines are instructed to reduce their global routes to China to one per week and only operate one route into the country, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

"Each Chinese airline is only allowed to maintain one route to any specific country with no more than one flight per week", it reads, while "each foreign airline is only allowed to maintain one route to China with no more than one weekly flight".

The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration yesterday also ordered airlines to cap their passenger load at 75 per cent, while allowing them to use passenger planes for cargo-only flights.

The adjusted flight routes are expected to start running from March 29, it added.

Many Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai have already imposed a compulsory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals from overseas.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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