China redirects Beijing-bound international flights to 12 other cities
By Guan Yang
Flight CA992 from Vancouver was rerouted and arrived in Shenyang instead of Beijing on Tuesday afternoon.
After landing, all passengers were told to remain in their seats for preliminary body temperature checks by customs officials. If the temperature of any passengers was above 37.3 degrees Celsius or they had symptoms of coronavirus, they as well as others with whom they had had close contact during the flight would be sent to a designated quarantine area for further tests.
Should any confirmed cases be detected, the infected passengers would be transferred to a hospital in Shenyang.
The initial checks take place in a quarantine area as airport authorities make sure rerouted passengers are separated from other travelers. A special departure lounge has been prepared for them.
For the other passengers with no symptoms, standard immigration procedures will apply, like handing over their paperwork and passports at the immigration counter and declaring personal belongings to customs. After that, these remaining passengers can get on board again and continue their journey to Beijing at no additional cost. However, passengers with no symptoms still must follow the 14-day quarantine measure after arriving in Beijing.
Starting Monday this week, all international flights to Beijing are being diverted to 12 other airports across China because of the ongoing battle against coronavirus, Beijing International Airport receives more than 200 international flights from over 30 countries weekly, making the capital subject to unprecedented risks in containing confirmed cases from overseas.
Passengers arriving at Beijing Capital Airport will be redirected to 12 different cities to decrease the workload of the airport, as well as boost the efficiency of immigration control and customs clearance, which in turn, mitigates the risks of infecting healthy people with COVID-19.
Starting Wednesday, Beijing will require everyone coming from overseas to be tested for the coronavirus on top of being quarantined for 14 days. In a notice published online, city authorities said those who have entered the city within the last 14 days will also undergo mandatory testing.
"Currently, the imported risk from the epidemic's rapid spread overseas continues to rise," the Beijing notice said.
The heightened measures – which apply regardless of one's final destination – follow a previous order that all overseas arrivals quarantine themselves at designated hotels at their own expense unless they live alone.
China announced on Tuesday an end to a two-month lockdown of most of coronavirus-hit Hubei province at midnight, as domestic cases of what has become a global pandemic subside. The city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected in December, is to remain locked down until April 8.