China continues to ban tour groups to prevent COVID-19 from spreading

China continues to ban outbound and inbound tour groups to prevent people from bringing in COVID-19 from the rest of the world

  • The Chinese tourism authority made the new announcement on Wednesday
  • The move is aimed to prevent a new surge of coronavirus cases in the nation
  • China has touted its success as it appears to have contained its virus outbreak
  • Meanwhile the rest of the world still grapples with a spike of COVID-19 infections

China will continue to suspend outbound and inbound group tours in a move aimed to prevent international travellers from bringing the coronavirus into the country.

The decision was made due to the risk of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases across the country this winter, authorities said yesterday.

In China, where COVID-19 was first discovered, the virus appears to have been mostly banished through a combination of lockdowns and travel restrictions that have officials touting the nation as a coronavirus success story. 

China will continue to suspend outbound and inbound group tours to prevent international travellers from bringing the coronavirus into the country. In this file photo, passengers are seen walking through the departure hall at Baiyun International Airport on October 8

The virus appears to have been mostly banished in China through a combination of lockdowns and travel restrictions that have officials touting the nation as a coronavirus success story. Chinese tourists crowd as they leave the exit of the Forbidden City on October 6

But China has also come under intense global scrutiny over its response to the outbreak, with the US and Australia leading accusations against Beijing that it covered up the origins and severity of the virus.

Life in China has gradually returned to normal after ghostly scenes of empty roads earlier this year as the country claims to have contained its COVID-19 outbreak.

During the first week of October, also known as the ‘Golden Week’, the country saw hundreds of millions ditching social distancing rules and flocking to scenic spots during the National Day Holiday.

It was China’s first major holiday as the country went two months without reporting any local coronavirus transmissions.

Life in China has gradually returned to normal after ghostly scenes of empty roads earlier this year as the country claimed to have contained its COVID-19 outbreak. Tourists are pictured visiting the Badaling Great Wall on the fourth day of the National Day holiday on October 4

But the lengthy streak was broken recently after a local outbreak infecting 13 people emerged in the eastern Chinese port city Qingdao on October 11.

The crisis was quickly quashed after the Qingdao officials tested nearly all of its 11million residents within four days – and claimed to have found zero new cases.

As China appearing to become the new safe haven, the rest of the world continues to grapple with a spike of coronavirus infections. 

On Wednesday, six US states reported record day-over-day increases in deaths caused by coronavirus. 

India saw cases rising by 55,839 today, taking its tally to 7.71 million, as the number of confirmed infections in Germany rose by more than 10,000 in a single day for the first time.

China’s two-month streak was broken recently after a local outbreak infecting 13 people emerged in the eastern Chinese port city Qingdao on October 11. A health worker takes a swab from a resident to be tested for the coronavirus in Qingdao city of eastern China on October 12

To prevent international travellers from bringing the contagion into the country, Beijing says it will continue to suspend outbound group tours and ban travel agencies from allowing inbound tours. Passengers wait for trains at Zhengzhou East Railway Station on October 1

To prevent international travellers from bringing the contagion into the country, Beijing says it will continue to suspend outbound group tours and ban travel agencies from allowing inbound tours. 

‘At present, the coronavirus outbreak is still spreading globally, and the risk of new sporadic cases and local outbreaks in the country, especially in autumn and winter, still exists,’ the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism warned in a notice on Wednesday.

China first suspended both domestic and outbound tours in late January as part of stringent pandemic control measures to curb the spread of the virus which first emerged in the central city of Wuhan. 

However, since July it has allowed domestic tours to resume amid a sharp drop in the number of new local cases.

Its curbs on outbound group tours have had a debilitating impact on the tourism industry in countries such as Thailand which have become heavily reliant on Chinese tourists over the years.

The news comes as a major Hong Kong airline, Cathay Pacific Airways, has announced its plan to cut 8,500 jobs and shutter a regional carrier as it grapples with the plunge in air travel due to the pandemic.

The cuts, which will see nearly 6,000 people losing their jobs and 2,600 unfilled positions axed, are about 24 per cent of the company’s workforce, according to its statement. 

Airlines around the world are on the brink of survival the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than one million people worldwide, batters travel and tourism. 

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