China orders sharp cuts in airline flights to curb virus risk

March 27, 2020 10:02
China aims to slow the flow of inbound travelers to a trickle as it seeks to curb imported cases of novel coronavirus infections. Photo: Reuters

China has ordered airlines to sharply cut the number of flights in and out of the country amid concerns that travelers from overseas could reignite the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reports

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) was quoted as saying Thursday that it has directed Chinese airlines to maintain only one route to any country and limit the number of flights to one per week, effective March 29.

The authority also ordered foreign airlines to reduce their international routes to China to one per week and only operate one route into the country.

“In accordance with the need for epidemic containment, CAAC may issue policy to further reduce the total number of international passenger flights,” the regulator said in a statement.

China also will temporarily suspend the entry of foreigners with valid Chinese visas and residence permits starting on March 28, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

The moves, in conjunction with severe quarantine rules now being imposed on people arriving in the country, are set to slow the flow of inbound travelers to a trickle.

Mainland China has not seen any new locally transmitted coronavirus cases in six of the past eight days, shifting the focus to preventing infected people arriving from overseas from triggering a fresh outbreak in the country.

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