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Coronavirus: Countries to resume flights to China as new confirmed cases in Hubei drop  

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has said that as of Tuesday, the civil aviation authorities of more than 40 countries have responded positively and showed interest in resuming flights to China as the situation continues to improve over Coronavirus epidemic.

The Director General of the CAAC Department of International Affairs, Liang Nan,   briefed the media on CAAC’s cooperation with other countries since the novel coronavirus outbreak.  He noted that the nations have expressed appreciation and support for the Coronavirus epidemic control efforts in China.

This information is obtained from the Newsletter of the Chinese Embassy in Abuja. The statement said that Ethiopia has promised not to suspend flights while Cambodia voiced solidarity with the Chinese people in this trying time and pledged not to use executive means to ban or cut back flights.

“Many countries said that their current restrictions are temporary and they will favorably consider resuming routes and flights once the situation gets better.Currently, domestic and overseas airlines continue to operate 710 international routes between China and 46 countries, with 2,610 passenger and cargo flights per week, connecting 120 cities on six continents,” Liang Nan said.

The UK, France, Germany, Japan, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, among others, clarified that they have not put any restrictions on aviation businesses through executive orders, and will continue to assess the situation, Nan said.

According to him, the US Department of Transportation approved two Air China flight routes, namely the Beijing-Los Angeles-San Francisco route and the Beijing-New York-Washington D.C. route, to raise air travel efficiency between the two countries at this special time.

He said that in the meantime, Russia has decided to maintain direct flights between Moscow and Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou after assessing the quarantine capacity of its airports and will keep air travel open between the two countries.

In a similar development, The United Arab Emirates has promised to retain Beijing as a waypoint. Flights to Pakistan were restored on 3 February with China Southern Airlines operating between Urumqi and Islamabad.

Nan added that for international routes affected by the epidemic, CAAC will touch base with its counterparts in relevant countries, strive to retain the traffic rights and time slots for airlines in each other’s countries, work out solutions to the specific problems facing airlines at this special moment, and restore the routes as quickly as possible when market demand returns.

“For countries which have suspended flights operated by Chinese airlines through executive directives, CAAC will work with China’s Foreign Ministry for the normal operation of Chinese flights in accordance with international conventions and bilateral agreements, and ensure as much as possible air connections between China and other countries,” Nan added.

Meanwhile according to latest statistics released on 12 February by the Health Commission of Hubei Province, as at 11 February, 1,638 new confirmed cases were reported in Hubei. 33,366 newly confirmed cases were reported in the province.

A careful analysis of Hubei’s daily figures in February done by analysts at Huanqiu.com, found that the number of new confirmed cases on 11 February is the lowest of the month and marks the second consecutive day of decline. It also marked the first time the number dipped below 2,000 since 2 February.

As of 24:00 on Feb 11, the National Health Commission had received 44,653 reports of confirmed cases and 1,113 deaths on the Chinese mainland and in all 4,740 patients had been cured and discharged from hospital. There still remained 16,067 suspected cases, the Embassy Newsletter said.

 

By Innocent Odoh, Abuja

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