Chinese Airline Flight Suspended After 6 COVID-19 Cases Onboard

By Joshua Cawthorpe, July 2, 2020

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A Sichuan Airlines flight between Cairo and Chengdu has been temporarily suspended after six passengers tested positive for COVID-19 on June 27, China Daily reports. The six passengers were Chinese nationals working in Egypt. As a result, China’s aviation regulator announced on July 1 that flight 3U8392 would be suspended for one week, beginning on July 6.

The suspension of the flight route reflects the ‘circuit breaker’ policy, which aims to mitigate the risk of infected passengers entering China aboard international flights. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) implemented this new system to reward or punish airlines depending on how closely they control for COVID-19. The directive came into effect on June 4.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the CAAC’s circuit breaker policy:

  • If five passengers on a flight test positive for COVID-19, the route will be suspended for one week.

  • If 10 or more passengers test positive, the route will be suspended for four weeks.

  • If no passengers test positive for a period of three consecutive weeks, the airline can double the number of flights per week.

Wednesday’s announcement marks the second instance in which the circuit breaker mechanism of the policy has been triggered. On June 11, flight CZ392 from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Guangzhou conducted nucleic acid tests and found that 17 passengers tested positive for the virus, according to CGTN. The suspension of the flight route between Dhaka and Guangzhou was declared on June 14 and came into effect the following week on June 22.

Since late March, the CAAC has implemented the ‘five-ones’ policy, which limits the current number of international flight routes to one per country, per destination, per week. However, it has been cautiously adjusted by the CAAC.

On Thursday, China reported only three newly confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those three new cases, one was locally transmitted in Beijing while the other two were passengers who recently returned to China. Shanghai and Guangdong province reported two imported cases on Wednesday, which brought the total number of imported cases to 1,920, of which 75 patients remain hospitalized. Among the imported cases, zero deaths have been reported.

READ MORE: COVID-19 Case on Very First German-Chartered Flight to China

[Cover Image via Wikimedia]

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