The Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) is limiting the number of international flights coming in and out of China in order to curtail the rise of imported coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the country, the aviation regulator said in a statement on its website.

Starting March 29, Chinese airlines are only allowed to maintain one route to any specific country with no more than one flight per week each, while foreign airlines are only allowed to maintain one route to China with no more than one weekly flight, CAAC said in the statement posted on its website on March 26.

“CAAC may issue policy to further reduce the total number of international passenger flights. Airlines therefore are required to closely follow information released, analyse the situation and make contingency plans in advance, and handle in a proper way the issues such as extension and refund of sold air tickets, etc,” the CAAC said.

According to China’s National Health Commission, local coronavirus cases have slowed down but imported cases in the country have been on the rise.

On March 26, China’s health authority recorded 54 imported Covid-19 cases and reported its first locally transmitted Covid-19 case in three days. There are now 81,340 confirmed cases in China, as of writing this story.

China’s aviation regulator also said airlines need to “strictly” implement the latest edition of Preventing Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Guideline for Airlines issued by the Office of China Civil Aviation Prevention and Control Covid-19 Leading Group, take stringent prevention and control measures on the flights to and from China and ensure a passenger load factor that is no more than 75 per cent.

The CAAC said airlines may operate all-cargo flights with passenger aircraft. These will not be counted as part of the total number of passenger flights operated by each airline.

China also joined a growing list of countries that have imposed entry restrictions in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis by announcing a travel ban on all foreign nationals, including those holding a work visa or residence permit, on March 27. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the ban will begin at midnight on Saturday March 28.

The country also has quarantine measures in place which vary from province to province. For example, everyone entering Beijing from overseas is quarantined for 14 days at designated facilities. Travellers are expected to pay the expenses associated with being quarantined.