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Flight ban between the US and China begins


Flight ban between the US and China begins

Winter olympics flighr ban
Flight ban between the US and China begins Photo: Reuters

The flight ban between the US and China begins today, with all commercial flights between the two countries suspended for at least two weeks.

China implemented the suspensions based on its ‘circuit breaker’ regulations, which cut off future flights from carriers and locations if a certain number of passengers test positive in quarantine. After more than 10 passengers on recent US-China flights from almost all carriers on the route tested positive, Chinese officials triggered several circuit breakers and suspended all US-China flights for the next two weeks.

The timing means that few, if any, Americans will be able to attend the Winter Olympic Games, nor will those with families in China be able to return for the Lunar New Year. While the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has not commented, they recently retaliated against Chinese cancellations by cancelling US-bound flights operated by Chinese carriers.

While the USDOT will likely retaliate again, do not expect it to escalate. The US has no interest in high attendance at the Games, which it is diplomatically boycotting, and the Biden administration supports COVID-19 containment measures in the US too strongly to condemn them in China. Expect fewer cancellations as spring arrives and case numbers decline.

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Photo: Robert Ward

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