(Bloomberg) -- China has shortened the length of suspensions for inbound airline flights that carry passengers infected with Covid-19, the latest sign that the nation may be ready to ease virus-control measures for international travelers.

Authorities changed the so-called circuit-breaker mechanism for airline bans, cutting to one week the period that incoming flights will be suspended if they carry five Covid-positive passengers, or 4% of the total, according to a statement posted on website of Civil Aviation Administration of China. Flights that arrive with 8% of passengers infected will be halted for two weeks.

The change, starting Sunday, is aimed at promoting personnel exchanges between China and foreign countries, and foreign exchange and cooperation, while “scientifically and accurately” achieving epidemic prevention and control, the statement said. 

In June, China reduced quarantine times for inbound travelers by half, its biggest shift in a Covid-19 policy that has left the world’s second-largest economy isolated as it continues to try and eliminate the virus.

In April last year, CAAS said n a statement that inbound flights carrying five infected passengers would be banned for two weeks from the fourth week of arrival or control its load factor and for those flights with 10 infected arrivals would be banned for four weeks from the fourth week of arrival.  

Hong Kong suspended a similar flight-ban system last month, raising hopes the financial hub will lift travel curbs. 


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