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Global Times

China diverts 106 inbound intl flights from Shanghai to 12 cities as the municipality registered record number of new COVID-19 cases

Global Times

By Global Times Published: Mar 15, 2022 04:03 PM

Some inbound international flights to Shanghai will be diverted to another 12 cities in China from March 21 to May 1 in a bid to ease mounting epidemic prevention pressures for the city amid a new outbreak of COVID-19 sparked by imported cases.

A total of 106 international flights across 22 routes including five airlines will be relocated to 12 cities including Southwest China's Chengdu and Chongqing, Northeast China's Dalian, East China's Fuzhou, and other cities, an official from the Civil Aviation Administration of China said on Tuesday.

The adjustment aimed at easing Shanghai's pressure in taking nearly 40 percent of China's total inbound international flights in the past two years. The city has reported record number of domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases recently.

According to a post released by the local government's official Wechat account on Friday, the present resurgence of the epidemic in Shanghai originated from infections through imported cases and has since fanned out due to management failures at a quarantine hotel.

Shanghai reported nine new confirmed cases and 130 asymptomatic cases on Monday, Shanghai Municipal Health Commission announced on Tuesday.

The data from the local health authority showed that the majority of hospitalized imported cases are from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), accounting 452 out of the total 671 cases including both imported cases and local confirmed cases as of press time.

Data from the aviation news portal carnoc.com showed that a total of 149 flights departed from Hong Kong to Shanghai in February while another 59 flights arrived in the city from the HKSAR during the first 10 days of March.

Li Xiaojin, an analyst from carnoc.com pointed out that Shanghai has received most inbound international flights in the country, handling nearly 40 percent of international flights, 50 percent of passengers and 70 percent of inbound cargo, admitted and treated more than 4,000 confirmed cases imported from overseas since 2020.

The number of inbound flights entering Shanghai in 2021 was 14,137, accounting for 35.6 percent of the total number of inbound flights in China, the figure rose to 39.9 percent and 42.8 percent in January and February respectively in 2022.

As for the relocation of international flights, analysts said that the 12 selected cities have the capacity to handle inbound flights in addition to related quarantine processing.

"Since 2020, after more than two years of experience, the conditions for epidemic prevention in the majority of cities across the country have become increasingly sophisticated and have the capacity to undertake and treat international passengers and imported cases," said Li.

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