China cuts quarantine times for inbound travellers

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Air China
(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

China announced this week it would cut quarantine times for inbound travellers by half, a huge move in its zero-COVID policy that has hurt the aviation industry tremendously. Travellers will now only be required to spend seven days in a quarantine facility, and then monitor their health at home for a further three days, according to a revised government protocol released Tuesday (28 June) by China’s National Health Commission. That’s down from 14 days hotel quarantine in many parts of China currently, and as many as 21 days of isolation in the past.

The change, although welcomed by the aviation industry, comes after Beijing and Shanghai said they had no new locally-transmitted infections on Monday, for the first time since February, following months of bruising curbs.

“The reduction in the quarantine period for international travelers to China is a step forward,” said Dr Xie Xingquan, IATA’s regional vice president for North Asia. “But more is still needed to support the recovery of the aviation sector. Evidence confirms that border measures are not an effective global strategy to control a pandemic. As long as there is still a quarantine, it will be a disincentive for people considering travel to China, especially when many parts of Asia are already allowing quarantine free travel.”

International flights to the mainland remain at near rock-bottom levels, according to aviation data provider VariFlight. In August, a one-way ticket in Business Class on China Eastern Airlines non-stop from New York to Shanghai cost US$13,200. A Premium Economy seat on a United Airlines flight in October is going for US$9,700.

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