China yesterday relaxed its three-year-long self-imposed travel bans due to the pandemic, with high hopes for a recovery in overseas travel amid new security worries. China reopens borders
The most recent traffic statistics from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that restrictions in China were the final missing piece in the puzzle that would complete the air travel recovery through November 2022.
However, due to a new wave of illnesses in China, the arrival of international aircraft from the Mainland China has revived COVID-19 travel protocols in Europe and more than 20 other countries.
Since over three years, China has been isolated from the rest of the world by tight border controls, which has been very difficult for families and companies with connections to the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, and other countries.
According to the state-run China Global Television Network, the first travelers to arrive under the new regulations touched down at airports in the southern cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen just after midnight on Sunday (CGTN).
According to the report, none of the 387 passengers on board aircraft from Singapore and Toronto, Canada, had to undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival or five days of quarantine at centralized government facilities.
IATA projected that worldwide aviation traffic is currently at 75.3% of November 2019 levels in its most recent air traffic estimate, which was published yesterday. In comparison to November 2021, international traffic increased 85.2%.
Willie Walsh, the director general of IATA, said that November’s traffic figures confirm how much consumers value their freedom to travel.
“Unfortunately, the (negative) reactions to China’s reopening of international travel in January remind us that many governments are still playing science politics when it comes to COVID-19 and travel.”
“Epidemiologists, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and others have said that the reintroduction of testing for travellers from China can do little to contain a virus that is already present around the world. And China’s objections to these policy measures are compromised by their own pre-departure testing requirements for people travelling to China,” he said.
Walsh advised countries to put their attention on using the tools at their disposal to properly manage COVID-19, such as enhanced treatments and immunizations, “rather than repeating strategies that have failed time and time again over the last three years.”
Beijing has not yet given the go-ahead for overseas travel into China, and visitors will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result received within 48 hours after leaving.
Prior to now, the EU has advised governments in the EU to undertake random testing of passengers arriving from China, to require all passengers on flights to and from China to wear face masks, and to test and sequence wastewater in airports with international flights and planes arriving from China.
In addition to the EU, more than 16 other nations require pre-boarding COVID-19 testing for travelers arriving from China.