Coronavirus epicenter Wuhan reopens for international flights

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Sep 17 2020 10:09 PM

An employee waits to check passengers for fever at an entrance to a terminal at Beijing Capital International Airport on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. Giulia Marchi, The New York Times/File

BEIJING - China's Wuhan, ground zero for the coronavirus outbreak sweeping the globe, has reopened for international flights, ending an 8-month moratorium since the deadly disease first emerged.

China stopped international flights in March as global alarm increased about the spread of COVID-19, but has now largely brought the disease under control at home through travel restrictions, testing and lockdowns.

A flight operated by South Korean carrier T'way landed at Wuhan's Tianhe International Airport Wednesday morning with 60 passengers, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Officials in white hazmat suits, masks and visors were seen checking the passports of arriving passengers.

All international passengers arriving in Wuhan have to pass a test within 72 hours of departure, Li Yizhuo, director of Wuhan's Civil Aviation Office, told CCTV.

China still bans most foreigners from entering and those allowed have to undergo 2 weeks of quarantine.

South Korean budget carrier T'way will operate 1 weekly round-trip flight between Wuhan and Incheon International Airport, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

Other major Chinese cities -- including Beijing and Shanghai -- already allow direct international flights, but have tightened visa processes and health checks.