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China Still Shut Off From the World With Flights Near Record Low

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Arriving travelers queue for Covid-19 tests at Changshui International Airport in Kunming, China, on Aug. 8. 

Arriving travelers queue for Covid-19 tests at Changshui International Airport in Kunming, China, on Aug. 8. 

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China remains almost completely isolated from the rest of the world as it adheres to its strict Covid Zero policy, with flights in and out of Asia’s biggest economy even fewer than when the first cases of the virus were discovered in Wuhan in early 2020.

As air travel elsewhere springs back, data from flight information provider VariFlight shows little improvement in China’s international air travel options, with around 100 flights per day compared to more than 2,600 before 2020. Scheduled flights dropped off even further after Shanghai imposed a weeks-long lockdown in April; they’ve never really recovered.