China’s air travel regulator to allow airlines to fly more routes to US

China’s air travel regulator is gearing up to allow more routes to the United States after the country lifted its strict anti-virus travel restrictions this month.

According to The Korea Times, China Central Television reported on its website that the US and Chinese airlines are among around 40 carriers that have submitted applications covering about 700 flights per week involving 34 countries. But, there are no dates as to when more routes will be allowed.

In 2020, China suspended most of its airline flights and other travel into and out of the country but has recently dropped such restrictions. On Sunday, the first passengers were allowed to fly into China without being quarantined after arrival.

Meanwhile, Thailand did an about-face as it reintroduced the two-dose Covid-19 vaccine requirement as a response to China’s abrupt lifting of its travel restrictions. Now, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, says there is no more vaccine requirement for those entering the country.

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But, the US isn’t so shy of changing its policy for arrivals from China. Now, those arriving from the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau will have new restrictions upon arriving in the US.

From January 5, all travellers from China, including Hong Kong, and Macau, must present a negative Covid test before entering the US. Tests must be taken “no more than two days before departure,” a health official said.

Travellers who test positive more than 10 days before a flight can provide documentation of recovery in place of a negative test result.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention is concerned by China’s lack of transparency and failure to track and sequence variants and subvariants circulating there. China has faced plenty of international criticism over alleged inconsistencies in its official Covid data reporting. The lack of genomic data from China makes it difficult to ensure that the US will be able to identify new variants and take measures.

The CDC said the requirement for testing will apply to all passengers arriving from China regardless of their nationality and vaccination status. It will also apply to those who enter the US through a third country, or who connect through the US to other destinations.

Beijing scrapped mandatory Covid quarantine for overseas arrivals from January 8, prompting many in China to plan trips abroad.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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