February 9, 2023

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Hugs and tears after 1016 days of “lockdown” – Corriere.it

to Guido Santevichi

Families gathered as the first flights landed without anti-Covid restrictions

toEmbraces of joy and emotion among the Chinese in the airports of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. In the capital of the People’s Republic of China, the international arrivals area has been ghosting for the past three yearsThe very few flights were concentrated between late at night and dawn, when passengers who had been instructed by the sanitary vigil were cleared, and sent immediately and in any case to quarantine. Since 2020, many Chinese travelers have appeared sealed in protective suits, like in a horror movie.; Even the flight attendants had to leave their chic flight uniforms for white ICU suits.

Yesterday, however, excitement was organized for family reunions at Beijing Airport upon disembarkation from flights from Warsaw, Frankfurt and above all Hong Kong. Hugs delayed for 1,016 days: that’s how long the obsessive control over international travel to and from China lasted imposed in March 2020 as The Covid Zero policy has now been abandoned.

A surprising, almost surreal, group of girls with telephoto lenses on their cameras wanted to catch a glimpse of the seven musicians of the K-pop group Tempest, who landed from Seoul on their first Chinese tour since January 2020. “It’s great to see them in person,” he told a reporter. They are taller and more beautiful than I ever imagined.” Reuters 19-year-old Xinye Beijing.

Therefore, January 8 will be remembered as the day the self-isolation of the People’s Republic of China ended. Overseas arrivals will not be locked in a Covid hotel room for a week (There were 14 days plus 7 home observations, at the height of the “prevention programme”). It will take some time for traffic to resume its usual flow: for three years the few flights allowed have been diverted away from Beijingto hold Political capital is protected from infection. Only eight international flights were scheduled to arrive at the capital’s international airport yesterday.

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But companies plan on a grand scale. The biggest concession made by the authorities concerns all Chinese: Since yesterday, Beijing has resumed the issuance and renewal of passports for foreign countriesin addition to regular visas and temporary residence permits for foreigners.

The bulk of yesterday’s influx was concentrated in Hong Kong, which due to the travel shutdown with mainland China took a severe blow to its economy based on tourism and trade as well as high finance. In the initial phase, 60,000 arrivals and the same number of departures are allowed per day by land, sea and air in the former British colony. The city’s airport has suddenly returned to a busy routine, and long queues are halting at booking desks for ferries and high-speed trains. Hong Kong’s approach to reopening remains cautious, and those entering or leaving must display a negative undertone: this same scale, Introduced last week by twelve countries including the USA and Italy and recommended by the European Union to all Member Statesin protest of the Chinese government calling it “unreasonable and unscientific”.

Scenes of festive confusion at airports collide with the images still arriving from the Chinese capital’s hospitals dealing with the wave of infections that spread in December. The authorities and the state press defend the administration hasty out of Covid Zero line It has become very expensive socially and economically. Beijing claims ICU admissions “may have peaked” in large cities, where 80% of beds are occupied. But Patient numbers could rise rapidly in small and medium-sized centers due to travel planned for the Lunar New Year, which falls on January 22. “We are facing an unprecedented challenge,” she said. security cameras A citizen of the senior officials of the Central Health Committee. The death toll remains shrouded in the mystery of Chinese politics. The World Health Organization says China “underestimates its death figures”. Euphemism to say that Beijing hides them: Western models project 1.5 million deaths by March.

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January 8, 2023 (changed on January 8, 2023 | 23:03)