File photo shows passengers at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. (Photo: China News Service/Yin Liqin)
China will limit the passenger capacity of international flights to or from places deemed to be at high risk of COVID-19 transmission to no more than 75 percent in an effort to contain imported coronavirus cases, according to the country's civil aviation regulator.
The pandemic situation is still severe and complex globally. With the surge of international passenger flights, the number of imported cases by air has been on the upswing, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said on Tuesday.
To prevent further cross-border transmission of the disease, the administration will scale up management of international passenger flights with high risks of infection.
The administration noted international passenger flights are classified as high-risk in accordance with the administration's latest technical guidelines for airline pandemic prevention and control.
The upper limit of 75 percent will also be applied to flights that have a total of five or more passengers who test positive for the coronavirus on the same route in three consecutive weeks, as well as those that have resumed after being suspended according to flight incentive and suspension measures announced in early June.
According to current "circuit-breaker" measures, airlines are ordered to suspend flights on a route for a week if five passengers test positive for coronavirus from a single flight. If the number exceeds 10, the airline must suspend the flights for four weeks. As an incentive, carriers may increase the number of international flights to two per week on a route if for three consecutive weeks no passengers test positive for the virus.
For the latter two types of flights, the carriers will be allowed to raise to full capacity when the number of passengers whose nucleic acid test results are positive stands at zero for three consecutive weeks and also apply more flights on the same route, the administration said.
The administration also requires airlines to step up temperature checks and health screening of passengers, reserve isolation areas for emergency use and check passenger health codes and nucleic acid testing certificates.
To date, the administration has issued 31 flight suspension directives and canceled 52 inbound flights.