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SCIO briefing on health and security of Chinese students overseas during COVID-19 outbreak

The State Council Information Office held a press conference in Beijing on April 2 to brief the media on the health and security of Chinese students living overseas during the COVID-19 outbreak.

China.org.cnUpdated: April 3, 2020

Hu Kaihong:

Thank you, Mr. Tian. Next, the floor is given to Mr. Lyu Erxue.

Lyu Erxue:

Good morning, everyone. As the situation of the COVID-19 epidemic changes, the focus of China's efforts has shifted from guarding against domestic transmission and spreading outside China , to instead guarding against imported cases and a possible domestic epidemic rebound. Following the work requirements of the State Council's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism to contain the continuously rising imported cases from overseas, the CAAC has adopted a policy to further cut international passenger flights, stipulating that each airline operate only one flight a week per country. Now, a total of 47 domestic and international airlines maintain regular flights with 61 destinations in 40 foreign countries. The total number of international flights stands at no more than 134 per week. Nevertheless, the weekly flight schedule is subject to adjustment in light of the actual operation of airlines. For instance, there are 108 flights scheduled this week. Such a significant decline in international flights is expected to effectively block the epidemic from being imported into China through air travel. The move to maintain the minimum level of flights is supposed to aid homeward bound Chinese citizens abroad, especially overseas Chinese students. 

Meanwhile, in order to reduce passengers' risk of infection and guarantee the safety of flights, as well as epidemic prevention and control, the CAAC has taken several measures. First, it has released its fourth cumulative update of a guide regarding epidemic prevention and control technology for passenger airlines and airports. With the ongoing development of the COVID-19 outbreak, especially the evolving international epidemic, the CAAC has been continuously improving its epidemic prevention and control measures for passenger airlines and airports, following the requirements of adopting differentiated strategies subject to regions and levels. Second, it requires all airlines to properly control the load factor of international flights and make reasonable adjustments to the cabin layout to disperse seating as far as possible. Third, it requires health checks on all passengers. This includes body temperature scanning before boarding, as well as an extra body temperature inspection of passengers once onboard. Fourth, airlines are instructed to set up a temporary quarantine zones on their planes. Any passengers found with fever, fatigue, dry cough and other symptoms must be isolated in time to avoid cross-infection. Fifth, it requires all airlines to conduct disinfection on their aircraft.

In short, adoption of the above-mentioned measures can effectively prevent the virus from spreading throughout aircraft and ensure the health and safety of returnees flying from overseas. Thank you.

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