COVID-19: China calls on countries to lift COVID-19 travel restrictions


BEIJING – China’s aviation authority Wednesday expressed the hope that certain countries would follow the advice of international organisations and lift travel bans as early as possible to facilitate cross-border journeys, reported Xinhua news agency.

Liang Nan, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), said China’s civil aviation sector is willing to work with other countries and take strict epidemic control measures to safeguard the health of passengers.

The spread of novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19), first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has greatly affected the operation of international flights as airlines had to cut flights due to shrinking market demand.

CAAC understands the decision to cut the number of flights and has approved such adjustments promptly. At the same time, it has organised and approved chartered flights to ferry stranded passengers, both Chinese and foreign nationals, Liang said.

However, she noted that certain countries have overreacted by suspending flights to and from China or implementing border entry restrictions.

“Such restrictions have had negative impacts on the global aviation market, causing inconvenience to international travellers,” she said.

Liang said the CAAC has kept the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) updated on China’s epidemic control measures for international flights and strengthened communication with aviation authorities of other countries and regions.

She urged all countries to follow the advice of international organisations and exercise caution when considering restrictive measures, especially government orders to suspend flights, so as to eliminate the epidemic’s impact on international air transport.

ICAO has repeatedly called on its members to follow the travel and health recommendations issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and not to impose restrictions inconsistent with the International Health Regulations.

Other aviation organisations, including the International Air Transport Association and Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, have also spoken against travel restrictions that disrupt international air transport.