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Direct international flights to gradually resume in Beijing
Published on: 2020-09-03
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flight 02Beijing is opening up to the world again after China has spent over half a year combating COVID-19, with occasional resurgences in some cities. The capital city announced on Wednesday plans to resume direct international flights, starting from Thursday, which signals that locally transmitted cases have been fully contained, leading medical experts commented.

After a break since late March, Beijing airports will again welcome passengers from abroad who will fly directly into the city. The first batch of international flights will connect the capital city with eight countries on three continents including four European countries, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Wednesday.

Flights connecting Thailand, Cambodia and Pakistan in Asia, as well as Greece, Denmark, Austria and Sweden in Europe, and Canada in North America - nations with relatively small numbers of imported cases - will resume. The first direct international flight to Beijing will depart from Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, on Thursday operated by Air China.

It does not mean, however, that Beijing — or other cities in the country — could relax their prevention and control measures, as China has been seeing growing numbers of imported cases in recent months, according to some experts.

flight 01With the experience of dealing with resurgent outbreaks in cities like Beijing and Dalian of Northeast China's Liaoning Province, China is increasingly capable of handling imported cases, and COVID-19 prevention and control has become a regular task, Zeng noted.

With Beijing welcoming passengers from overseas, all people entering the country would undergo 14-day collective quarantine periods for medical observation and take nucleic acid tests twice, Beijing health authority spokesman Gao Xiaojun told a press conference on Wednesday. To improve screening and treatment, Ditan Hospital in Beijing will be a designated place for treatment at the early stage of resumption of direct international flights.

In order to control the cross-border spread of the global pandemic, the CAAC said that it would impose stricter anti-COVID-19 prevention measures based on an existing "circuit breaker" mechanism.

The regulator stressed that if three or more confirmed cases are found on an international flight into Beijing, the flight will be re-directed to another Chinese city. During trial operations, direct international flights to Beijing will have a passenger cap of around 500 each day.





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