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China calls on countries to lift coronavirus travel restrictions

Taking every precaution: Medical workers spray disinfectant on Indonesian citizens as they arrive at Hang Nadim International Airport in Batam, Riau Islands, on Sunday. As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across China, 238 Indonesians have been evacuated from Wuhan. The Indonesian returnees will be monitored in Natuna, Riau Islands, for two weeks to ensure they are free from the virus. (Antara/Handout Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

BEIJING, Feb 13, 2020, Xinhua. China’s aviation authority expressed the hope that certain countries would follow the advice of international organizations and lift travel bans as early as possible to facilitate cross-border journeys, Xinhua reported.

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 organized 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 travelers,” she said.

Liang said the CAAC has kept the International Civil Aviation Organization 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 organizations 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.

The International Civil Aviation Organization has repeatedly called on its members to follow the travel and health recommendations issued by the World Health Organization and not to impose restrictions inconsistent with the International Health Regulations.

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

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