10/20/2020, 09.31
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Covid emergency: Tokyo and Beijing resume commercial flights without quarantine

The measure concerns short and medium-term business trips. Visitors in the two countries will not be required to quarantine. Several Asian nations are easing anti-coronavirus restrictions. Contradictory indications from the WHO.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Japan and China are ready to resume flights for business travel, a measure to counter the negative effects of Covid-19 and relaunch their commercial relations, according to Japanese government sources speaking with the South China Morning Post.

The reopening will only concern short and medium term visits. According to the draft agreement, which should be concluded by the end of October, Chinese and Japanese business travellers will be able to enter their respective countries without having to observe a 14-day quarantine. However, they will have to present their travel itinerary and prove that they tested negative for coronavirus. The quarantine obligation remains in force for visiting students and long-term residents.

Tokyo has similar agreements with Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam. The Japanese government's goal is to restart the national economy, hit by months of lockdowns and restrictions to contain the pandemic. Beijing has similar interests: Japan is its third trading partner, with trade in 2019 amounting to 280 billion euros.

Several countries in Asia are oriented towards eliminating some of the anti-Covid restrictions. The Philippines have reduced curfew times, Australia has cancelled some limits on public gatherings and India wants to reopen all economic activities.

These easing comes as the World Health Organization, through the mouth of Mike Ryan, the WHO’s leading expert on the ongoing health crisis, suggests that Europe follow the example of Asian nations and persevere with measures to combat the coronavirus.

Ryan's is not the organization's first contradictory indication. On 11 October, David Nabarro, the WHO's special coronavirus envoy, argued that lockdowns are not the best way to defeat the pandemic. For months, the UN body had extolled China's draconian restrictions on its population as the best model for fighting the disease.

For many governments, the WHO covered up Beijing's faults in the early stages of the pandemic; very heavy criticisms are still directed at its general manager, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, defined as China’s "puppet" for having submitted and approved its silences.

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