China opens air travel amid Covid surge, experts worried

"International travel will likely surge, yet it may take many more months before volumes return to the pre-pandemic level," Dan Wang, chief economist at Hang Seng Bank China, told Euro News. "Covid is still spreading in most parts of China, greatly disrupting the normal work schedule. Loss in productivity is significant and inflationary pressures in the coming months could be acute as the sudden spike in demand will outpace the recovery in supply," he mentioned.

As the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announces to lift Covid-19 travel restrictions from January 8, experts have warned that this can be a worst situation for the world, as Covid is still spreading in the country with hospitals filled with infected people amid no space in crematoriums for dead bodies.

Air carriers have also given a lukewarm response to China's travel reopening amid a Covid surge.

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"International travel will likely surge, yet it may take many more months before volumes return to the pre-pandemic level," Dan Wang, chief economist at Hang Seng Bank China, told Euro News.

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"Covid is still spreading in most parts of China, greatly disrupting the normal work schedule. Loss in productivity is significant and inflationary pressures in the coming months could be acute as the sudden spike in demand will outpace the recovery in supply," he mentioned.

The CAAC said that it will stop designating inbound high-risk flights, and call an end to the 75 per cent ceiling for passenger capacity on inbound flights.

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Also, Chinese and foreign airlines will arrange scheduled passenger flights in accordance with bilateral agreements, reports Global Times.

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The government has downgraded management of Covid-19 from top-level Class A to Class B, and cancelled quarantine requirements on inbound travellers from January 8.

Official statistics showed only one Covid death this week, fuelling doubts among health experts and residents about the government's data.

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"The numbers are inconsistent with the experience of much less populous countries after they reopened," according to reports.

According to Euro News, hospitals are overwhelmed with five to six times more patients than usual, most of them elderly.

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Health experts estimate millions of daily infections and predict at least one million COVID deaths in China in 2023.

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