China is set to reduce the number of flights between China and the United States ahead of the Beijing Olympics, according to a report. The move comes amid increased tension in trade relations between Washington and Beijing.
China has banned US flights ahead of the Beijing Olympics and Lunar New Year. The ban is in effect from January 1-February 28, 2021. Read more in detail here: china travel restrictions 2021.
Chinese aviation officials have ordered the cancellation of further near-future flights coming from the United States, citing the country’s COVID-19 containment regulations, only weeks before the inauguration of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. In the following weeks, flights from additional nations, including France, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates, will be prohibited.
Commercial aviation routes are suspended for at least two weeks when a flight lands in China carrying more than five passengers who test positive for COVID, and for four weeks when ten or more people test positive after arrival, according to Chinese regulators’ so-called “circuit-breaker” rules (in effect since June 2021).
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The Omicron variant has caused a wave of flight cancellations due to its increased transmissibility and shorter incubation period, which coincides with both the start of the Winter Olympics in Beijing on February 4 and the Lunar New Year, which this year falls on February 1 and is China’s most important holiday.
China’s circuit-breaker laws forced the cancellation of roughly one-third of the 9,356 foreign aircraft scheduled to fly to the Middle Kingdom between December 24 and January 12.
On Friday, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) issued a list of newly restricted flights, including American Airlines and Delta Air Lines routes from Dallas and Detroit, respectively, to Shanghai. According to The Wall Street Journal, dozens of additional flights planned to go from the United States to China on both Chinese and American airlines have been canceled since the beginning of 2022.
According to CNN Business’s investigation of official pronouncements and public flight itineraries, commercial flights from the United States to China would be almost non-existent for at least two weeks, beginning January 19. “Only two flights seemed suitable to run for that timeframe,” the site noted at the time of publishing. “One of them was with United Airlines.”
With Omicron spreading like wildfire over the world, the Chinese government is sticking to its zero-COVID policy, which “relies on a playbook of mass testing, prolonged quarantines, and snap lockdowns to stamp out any reappearance of the virus,” as a CNN article recently put it. Its unyielding position, on the other hand, is becoming more difficult for China’s people and economy, as well as irritating for American authorities.
“China’s actions are in violation of its commitments under the United States-China Air Transport Agreement,” a spokeswoman for the United States Department of Transportation said earlier this week. “We’re talking to the PRC about it, and we reserve the right to take regulatory action if necessary.”
After a large cluster of Omicron infections linked to foreign flight crew members, Hong Kong, a vital gateway to the mainland, barred flights from the United States and a number of other countries for two weeks starting January 7, interrupting a months-long streak of zero COVID-19 cases.
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China has banned US flights ahead of the Beijing Olympics and Lunar New Year, citing concerns about a coronavirus. The virus is similar to SARS. Reference: coronavirus china travel.
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