Yow: Flight From China Has 52% Coronavirus Positivity Rate

Yow: Flight From China Has 52% Coronavirus Positivity Rate

65

It’s going to be interesting to see how global health authorities deal with this, as it sure feels a whole lot like 2020 again…

Italy tests travelers arriving from China

China has radically changed its approach toward the coronavirus pandemic. The country went from a strategy of avoiding cases at all costs, to now letting the virus rip throughout the country.

Since China has been isolated from the rest of the world for the past three years, China’s epidemiological situation hasn’t had a major impact on global travel. That’s going to be changing, as China is opening its borders as of January 8, 2023, leading the way for those in China to travel around the globe again.

International health authorities are trying to figure out how to deal with this. Japan has announced it will restrict travel from China, while the United States is adding a testing requirement for travelers from China.

With the current coronavirus outbreak in China (which the Chinese government seems to be greatly underplaying), Italy has started doing on-arrival testing of airline passengers arriving from China, with a quarantine required for those who test positive. Here’s how Italy’s Minster of Health, Orazio Schillaci, describes this decision:

“I have arranged, by ordinance, mandatory Covid antigenic swabs, and related sequencing of the virus, for all passengers coming from China and in transit in Italy. The measure is essential to ensure the surveillance and identification of any variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population.”

So, what are the initial results? As reported by Italy’s Corriere, the first flight tested this week from Beijing had an astounding 52% of passengers test positive for coronavirus. Yow.

That wasn’t an isolated incident either. On two subsequent flights, an average of 46% of passengers tested positive for coronavirus (97 infections among 212 passengers).

Italy is testing travelers arriving from China

This is a tricky situation…

I don’t envy the decisions that public health officials have to make, as they try to decide how to handle this.

The way I view it, the issue isn’t the sheer number of cases as such. After all, most health authorities around the world have declared that the pandemic is no longer an emergency, and don’t even require that people quarantine if they test positive for coronavirus.

So while getting a lot of new cases isn’t great, realistically that doesn’t seem like it should directly lead to major new restrictions.

The bigger issue here is the extent to which China clearly isn’t willing to be honest about the current outbreak. It’s one thing if the Chinese government were transparent about case numbers, the exact strain of the virus that’s most prevalent in China, etc.

But the Chinese government simply can’t be trusted. I mean, just recently Beijing was reporting a few thousand cases and a handful of deaths in the country per day, when the real number is believed to be exponentially higher than that.

The way I view, the biggest benefit of testing travelers arriving from China is to be able to get more information about the exact variant of the virus that’s mutating in China, rather than anything else.

I’m curious to see what restrictions other countries add

Bottom line

While the Chinese government is downplaying the coronavirus surge in the country, it’s pretty clear that it’s awful, and this all comes as China reopens its borders. Italy has started testing passengers arriving from China, and the data doesn’t look good, with over 50% of passengers on one flight testing positive for the virus.

Are you surprised to see the positivity rate on flights from China?

Conversations (65)
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  1. Euro Aviation Guest

    The way it looks considering there's 1.4B people over there, that virus has and will continue to mutate until even current good western vaccines won't help... another pandemic in the making. When that happens we'll have to start all over again with not just another set of vaccine/boosters but business closures and so on.

    Nasty!

  2. Joseph Guest

    Who. cares. Time to move on.

  3. Phillip Gold

    Can someone confidently tell me the proportion of positive cases on US domestic flights? Clueless! I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s over 50%! Same goes for the rest of the world! But who’s counting? Who cares? Let’s blamE China one more time

  4. ArnoldB Guest

    I really have to wonder, why are the comment sections here always invaded by russian or chinese propaganda posters? You'd think travel blogs wouldn't exactly be their main target

    1. Jkjkjk Guest

      Chaching. 50 more cents for me to post this.
      People with an ounce of brain know that the biggest propaganda machine is american media. They’re so good until they make you think that you’re a free thinker. They are the arm of US government and big corporations to sell wars and drugs to the masses. Prove me wrong!

  5. at Guest

    Dear Ben,
    The headline is too alarming and provocative. Might I suggest un-jazzifying to something more neutral in tone?

    1. DCharlie Guest

      why? then he will have to un-jazzify all his post titles.

      Many of us are here for entertainment, not information. He rarely publishes anything many of us don't already know.

  6. Alex Guest

    The official positivity rate in my country (Germany) is currently at 30%. However, everybody is aware that this is grossly underestimated as people simply don't go for a test anymore when they have symptoms. They just stay at home (as with any other viral infection).
    During 2021/2022 there were multiple periods when the official positivity rate was well beyond 50%.
    Thus, we aren't any better off than the Chinese and I am certain...

    The official positivity rate in my country (Germany) is currently at 30%. However, everybody is aware that this is grossly underestimated as people simply don't go for a test anymore when they have symptoms. They just stay at home (as with any other viral infection).
    During 2021/2022 there were multiple periods when the official positivity rate was well beyond 50%.
    Thus, we aren't any better off than the Chinese and I am certain that the situation isn't any better in other countries.

    1. Jkjkjk Guest

      Thank you. Someone who use their brain knows that any covid data is as good as what method of testing and reporting.

      Why would government count positive from a self test kit. When they have mass testing capacity it’s wrong when they encourage self test kit it’s wrong. China is always wrong because it’s ruled by communist and they’re successful.

    2. ArnoldB Guest

      Lmao, are you two the same CCP propaganda poster under different user names? Amazing how you are just randomly making shit up.

    3. Jkjkjk Guest

      Just as usual, westerner with no proof whatsoever blaming people for pointless stuff because they have no substance to argue about.

      Ben or other moderators, tell this Arnold that I am indeed different person than this Alex guy.

      Chaching. 50 cents for posting this.

    4. nicolas Guest

      Just to be fair though, that isn’t a sensible comparison. You’re saying that in Germany (and most countries) 30-50% of the people *who get tested* test positive, but far less than that % of the general population has covid. Here we can reasonably assume that testing a flight is a pretty representative sample of the general population, so probably hundreds of millions are infected *right now*

  7. Emily Guest

    The Chinese government are taking actions to protect themselves from further backlash and protests from their citizens. The fact is that no one can predict whether future mutations will be weaker or stronger. Anyone who claims to know is either delusional or simply not aware of the subject.

    Studies have shown that sinovac is inferior to all other global vaccines, including the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine marketed as Covishield b SRI, the mRNA and the various new...

    The Chinese government are taking actions to protect themselves from further backlash and protests from their citizens. The fact is that no one can predict whether future mutations will be weaker or stronger. Anyone who claims to know is either delusional or simply not aware of the subject.

    Studies have shown that sinovac is inferior to all other global vaccines, including the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine marketed as Covishield b SRI, the mRNA and the various new vaccines developed. Therefore, do not expect the Chinese made vaccines to lessen the spread nor reduce the intensity of the infections.

    It is a good thing that countries such as Japan, the USA and India are demanding all passengers on flights originating in China to either present a Covid RT-PCR test result or are enforcing 100% testing on arrival. In addition, these countries should simply deport passengers who test positive on the return flight.

    Finally, China's death count due to Covid is unreliable. They have recently "adjusted" the death related causes so that Covid values are far lower. Do they really think the world can be fooled into believing that only 3 people died due to Covid yesterday when there are reports and images of ICUs and hospitals overflowing with people without oxygen?

    1. Nosa Guest

      To be honest, I don’t know if the mRNA will have some adverse impact to my immune system in 5 or 10 years. If not COVID, mRNA won’t be used on human beings until like this.

    2. Jkjkjk Guest

      This is fact. We know that this is not the first time FDA messed up and mislabel things due to $$$ from big pharma. There are billions of people literally in the third world countries that take sinovac early on and are much better than affording the mRNA vaccines that cost these governments a lot more.

      Emily, less efficacy does not mean no efficacy. And no. Death rates due to covid in China is...

      This is fact. We know that this is not the first time FDA messed up and mislabel things due to $$$ from big pharma. There are billions of people literally in the third world countries that take sinovac early on and are much better than affording the mRNA vaccines that cost these governments a lot more.

      Emily, less efficacy does not mean no efficacy. And no. Death rates due to covid in China is ain’t as bad as the early days of new york or italy. I have friends who are doing residencies in the public hospitals. Yes. There are lack of resources. Yes it’s overran but to insinuate people are dropping like flies are just flat lies.

  8. Aman Guest

    Let’s not forget that China practiced a zero covid policy and shut their door off for several years. While COVID is endemic for most nations, the situation in China is different with absurdly high positivity rates and low immunity. So if we need to impose travel restrictions on Chinese travelers, we absolutely should given that there is no transparency of data and moroever the immunity levels are low.

    The idea that mutants become milder...

    Let’s not forget that China practiced a zero covid policy and shut their door off for several years. While COVID is endemic for most nations, the situation in China is different with absurdly high positivity rates and low immunity. So if we need to impose travel restrictions on Chinese travelers, we absolutely should given that there is no transparency of data and moroever the immunity levels are low.

    The idea that mutants become milder over time is a major assumption. The omicron waves in Hong Kong and most recently China have proven that omicron can cause severe disease and overwhelm healthcare systems- it isn’t benign. The milder illness it caused in other countries had more to do with higher levels of hybrid immunity than the virulence of the strain.

    And this highlights another unsettling fact that we need to accept- we are NOT out of the woods yet from COVID. A new mutant with immune can potentially reduce our protection from severe disease and once again alter the direction of the pandemic.

    I am not suggesting we go back to isolation and quarantines however some caution is needed- specifically we need to track variants and introduce restrictions on countries where the pandemic is out of control.

    So yes Chinese travellers need to be restricted until they get things under control and start being more transparent. Let’s avoid the same mistakes we made in 2020.

    1. Jkjkjk Guest

      The idea that the virus will mutate is also a large assumption. Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it probable? No one would bet their life on it I bet.

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      What on earth are you babbling about?

      *ALL* viruses mutate, and strains are guaranteed evolve into additional variants, due to the simple fact that mistakes in transcription/replication will always occur.

      Good lord people, that's like 8th grade level science.

    3. Nosa Guest

      You are right. Omicron is not benign. But this is not what Biden administration told me.

  9. Jkjkjk Guest

    Wow. What a non sense lucky.
    Seriously. Who’s downplaying the virus. The number is real because those are the number of people who gets tested.

    When the government tested billion people a day you westerner says there’s no rights. Meanwhile when they finally stopped testing, you said they lied about the number. For christ sakes. I don’t see CDC publishing daily covid case for people who test positive with self test kit do...

    Wow. What a non sense lucky.
    Seriously. Who’s downplaying the virus. The number is real because those are the number of people who gets tested.

    When the government tested billion people a day you westerner says there’s no rights. Meanwhile when they finally stopped testing, you said they lied about the number. For christ sakes. I don’t see CDC publishing daily covid case for people who test positive with self test kit do they? Any sense?
    China is simply moving away from expensive ridiculous PCR test to self kit and that’s why the “under reporting”. Start using your brain will ya… stop trusting in any government. I stopped trusting in US government when they claimed iraq had WMD or when FDA labeled oxy to be less addictive. Wake up. Stop trusting your government first before others.

    1. Jkjkjk Guest

      that’s the best you can come up with?Are you too shocked that your government can’t be trusted?

    2. ArnoldB Guest

      You are like a bad parody, filling all the boxes with "you westerners", "US WMD whataboutism" and gobbling up your sweet Xi propaganda. Truly pathetic.

  10. Timo Guest

    I do wonder what has happened to all those passengers after landing in Italy ?

    Do they just walk around freely now in all over Europe or did they get compulsory isolation for 2 weeks in a qarantine facility ?
    Or have they been put directly back to China ?

  11. Alan Diamond

    Pointless to instigate restrictions. This has been tried with various implementations and not one country has done significantly better than Mexico which has never had an entry restriction.

  12. glenn t Diamond

    With China having been in a tight national lockdown for so long it is inevitable that new variants and sub-variants have evolved.
    Those commenting here thinking (hopefully) that they will be less severe than those already circulating are living in a fool's paradise!
    Ditto those who point to the 1918-20 Spanish flu eventually"fizzling out". As proven time and time again this sucker IS NOT just like any influenza we see each year! Just...

    With China having been in a tight national lockdown for so long it is inevitable that new variants and sub-variants have evolved.
    Those commenting here thinking (hopefully) that they will be less severe than those already circulating are living in a fool's paradise!
    Ditto those who point to the 1918-20 Spanish flu eventually"fizzling out". As proven time and time again this sucker IS NOT just like any influenza we see each year! Just ask the 1.1m Americans who have died from coronavirus. Oh, you can't do that, they are dead.
    Get real; don't undo all the good work done in the post-Trump years.

    1. Alan Diamond

      Most of those that died either died with covid or were never offered early treatment. Most importantly the govt failed to promote healthy lifestyles. The message should have been, get your fat ass off the couch, go outside and get some sunlight and exercise. But no that would be fat shaming so ineffective vaccines became the only solution.

  13. Anon 1982 Guest

    W T F.
    Is going on with China?!
    We have Russia invading Ukraine.
    We have China with this virus!
    The eastern world is in chaos!

    1. Alvin | YTHK Diamond

      Ah yes, Russia and China, the two countries that make up all of the Eastern world.

    2. Jkjkjk Guest

      China with this virus that also exist in your part of the world. The western world creates the chaos. You can say what you want about russia but almost the whole western world (non neutral ones) support israel occupation of palestine because of history but not russian occupation of Ukraine. Nice one.

    3. ArnoldB Guest

      So you also managed to sneak in Israel somehow, lmao. Do you at least get paid for this nonsense, or are you just completely brainwashed and doing it for free?

  14. Bob Guest

    Sinovac is junk and most mainlanders know it. They are traveling in droves to get a better vax. China's govt knows this as well and it's their out to vaccinate their people without the embarrassment of acknowledging their sino vax is a heaping pile.

    1. Mak Guest

      Sinovac is an adenovirus based vaccine and basically similar to Jensen or Sanofi-GSK vaccines approved in the West. The problem isn't so much the quality of the vaccine as that most of the people who took it didn't need it because they were at little risk with the virus, and the vulnerable old people who actually needed it didn't take it and are now exposed. This is of course too bad, but they made their...

      Sinovac is an adenovirus based vaccine and basically similar to Jensen or Sanofi-GSK vaccines approved in the West. The problem isn't so much the quality of the vaccine as that most of the people who took it didn't need it because they were at little risk with the virus, and the vulnerable old people who actually needed it didn't take it and are now exposed. This is of course too bad, but they made their choice and can't expect the rest of society to stay locked up forever to protect them.

    2. Alan Diamond

      Why would anyone want any of the covid vaccines now that we know their track record? I seriously doubt that any unvaxed people have gotten vaccinated in the last six months. Even bivalent booster uptake is less than 25%.

  15. 305 Guest

    This is China’s latest attempt to try and shut down the rest of the world for their benefit. Send their infected all over and try and spread fear/the virus to other corners of the globe. Too bad for them no one is doing that all over again

  16. DenB Diamond

    Here we go.
    My assumptions (I know many disagree, but many agree too) are as follows:

    Preventing Spread is not one of our options, therefore attmepting it is pointless, destructive, costly and frankly embarrassing.

    Data about positivity might be useful for epidemiological purposes and lack of data caused more harm than good in the early days of the pandemic.

    1. DenB Diamond

      Was in the midlle of typing more, when it "submitted".

  17. What Covid? Guest

    Ban everyone from China, regardless of Religion,ethnicity,Race,etc. Even if you were just visiting there. Good, you are now screwed.

  18. Alonzo Diamond

    "The Chinese government can't be trusted". But the United States government can? The UK government can? The UAE government can? Come on, stop that nonsense. All the numbers these countries are reporting, are fake.

    1. KK13 Guest

      Okay, let's transport you and your family to China. Go leave there, we don't need you here.

    2. Alonzo Diamond

      Transport yourself to the nearest mental institution. Do not pass go and do not collect $200.

  19. EK_engineer Guest

    We're on the verge of 2023 and some sad people can't let go of the great panic scare of late 2019! I'd rather have a lively discussion on Kony 2012, ice bucket challenges, the Harlem Shake and Napster....because those things are still more profound than that truly over-rated "health emergency".

    1. Your Medical Provider Guest

      Sure, over-rated till it kills a significant portion of the population, oh wait it did that. Sorry you’re bitter about COVID, glad it’s mutated and milder these days, sorry ER workers like myself still have to deal with dipsh*ts like you, glad you don’t make policy.

  20. Your daddy Guest

    This is exactly what the USA should of done back in 2020. Let it burn through society the bs 2 weeks to flatten the curve just allowed liberal cities to lock up and control everyone for years. If we would of done this by June 2020 would of been through the entire country.

    1. Wc Guest

      Unless your family is among the flattening?

  21. Creditcrunch Diamond

    I can’t believe we’re back to posting comments that we all read in 20/21/22! no matter what camp your in this is just a huge cluster##ck and the situation could and will spiral out of control politically, domestically, internationally and of course health-wise very quickly.

    1. Mak Guest

      For those who understand how viruses work, and how the history of covid and the nonsensical and panicked responses to it developed to cause needless harm with no gain in public health outcomes, we know that this isn't a legitimate concern. The only thing that can "spiral out of control" are politics, xenophobia, and authoritarianism.

    2. David Diamond

      Anyone who understands how viruses work know it's a dice roll. It's more likely that a variant will progressively get weaken, but that's hardly a given. One only need to look at the Spanish flu to see how the second wave was much more deadly than the first. The fact is it doesn't hurt to be prepared. a test before a flight from a country currently experiencing large scale infections and a government who doesn't...

      Anyone who understands how viruses work know it's a dice roll. It's more likely that a variant will progressively get weaken, but that's hardly a given. One only need to look at the Spanish flu to see how the second wave was much more deadly than the first. The fact is it doesn't hurt to be prepared. a test before a flight from a country currently experiencing large scale infections and a government who doesn't have a good track record for transparency isn't a huge burden.

    3. Mak Guest

      It is a dice roll, if you can imagine a 100 sided die with 99 sides being positive. Nothing is certain in biology, but the great probability is that viruses evolve to become less lethal rather than more -- this is the nature of evolution in which organisms inherit traits to help them survive, and not to kill their hosts and die. To think otherwise is to reject the theories of Darwin.

      Your understanding about...

      It is a dice roll, if you can imagine a 100 sided die with 99 sides being positive. Nothing is certain in biology, but the great probability is that viruses evolve to become less lethal rather than more -- this is the nature of evolution in which organisms inherit traits to help them survive, and not to kill their hosts and die. To think otherwise is to reject the theories of Darwin.

      Your understanding about the Spanish flu is simply wrong and based upon the fact that the war hid the effects of the virus and prevented travel and its spread around the world until it was over. There were not 2 waves but rather 2 time periods, one during the war and one after it when it was being spread by soldiers returning home and spreading it around the world to immunologically naive people.

    4. David Diamond

      Once again incorrect. The first wave killed elders with weak immune systems, the second wave caused cytokine storms in the young and healthy. They are two waves (and there were more waves after that).

      Your 100 dice argument is not based on any scientific fact, you simply made up the 1% number. To say organisms choose the random mutations they get is so grossly misunderstanding evolution I have nothing to say, except that your are clearly not educated in the field.

  22. Donna Diamond

    One can conclude that half the Chinese population could easily have COVID given the high positive rate they’re seeing at Malpensa on arriving flights from China. That means more variants, possibly worse ones, are on the way. And I thought the American Public Health Authorities screwed up a lot with their management until we now see what’s coming out of China, three years out. Wow, what a total catastrophe of mismanagement of the pandemic by the Chinese Government.

    1. Mak Guest

      This can generate "possibly worse" variants, but the vastly greater probability is that the evolution of a virus is towards milder variants. Acquired immunity is something to celebrate, and not something to avoid. Even the Spanish Flu, which was worse by orders of magnitude in terms of severity, and for which there was no vaccine or effective treatment, burned itself out after 3 years. Covid is over as a grave disease, and we only need to accept that fact.

    2. Chrid Guest

      “Even the spanish flu… burned itself out after 3 years.” .. aha, plus 50 million fatalities in a lot less mobile and much smaller global population.

    3. Steve Diamond

      Oh not the "insert scary name new variant' is gonna kill everyone again. Havent we gone through this before a few times now.

  23. Kal Guest

    US already requiring negative test results to enter. Wonder how reliable those tests will be.

    1. John Guest

      That's a very good point and the answer is "not very." There is no database to determine if the test presented is from a real lab or on a real lab's letterhead. Customs and immigration have no universal source to validate testing coming out of China.

    2. Donato Guest

      I am pretty sure I read that the requirement van be satisfied with a self test, lol.

    3. Sum Fing Wong Guest

      Either way, what’s the point of having a genuine negative test result if you’re then going to file through queues and share a metal tube with hundreds of infected people for several hours

  24. TomLV Guest

    I believe we're about to enter the "find out" phase of this here pandemmy.

    1. Mak Guest

      52% of passengers "infected" with a disease so potent that nobody would have even known that they were "sick" without the test. Time to get smart and realize that this disease has become a background risk akin to a common cold and learn to live with the reality that its endemic and that we harm ourselves more by avoiding it than ignoring it.

    2. Steve Diamond

      Agreed but i do agree with testing requirements for China until this wave dies down in a month or two. Lets them go through it and then remove the requirement.

    3. Mak Guest

      You agree with testing requirements towards what end? To prevent asymptomatic people from traveling with a mild virus from entering a country where Covid has been circulating for 3 years and which now has a lower mortality rate than flu (for which we don't test)? This is a pointless exercise that does nothing but enrich the testing industry, inconveniences people, and adds absolutely nothing to public health - but somehow seems like common sense to some people.

    4. Chris Guest

      Has a lower mortality rate than the normal flu? Where did you get that nonsense from? You care to check numbers before you post this kind of BS? Thank you

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Your Medical Provider Guest

Sure, over-rated till it kills a significant portion of the population, oh wait it did that. Sorry you’re bitter about COVID, glad it’s mutated and milder these days, sorry ER workers like myself still have to deal with dipsh*ts like you, glad you don’t make policy.

5
Emily Guest

The Chinese government are taking actions to protect themselves from further backlash and protests from their citizens. The fact is that no one can predict whether future mutations will be weaker or stronger. Anyone who claims to know is either delusional or simply not aware of the subject. Studies have shown that sinovac is inferior to all other global vaccines, including the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine marketed as Covishield b SRI, the mRNA and the various new vaccines developed. Therefore, do not expect the Chinese made vaccines to lessen the spread nor reduce the intensity of the infections. It is a good thing that countries such as Japan, the USA and India are demanding all passengers on flights originating in China to either present a Covid RT-PCR test result or are enforcing 100% testing on arrival. In addition, these countries should simply deport passengers who test positive on the return flight. Finally, China's death count due to Covid is unreliable. They have recently "adjusted" the death related causes so that Covid values are far lower. Do they really think the world can be fooled into believing that only 3 people died due to Covid yesterday when there are reports and images of ICUs and hospitals overflowing with people without oxygen?

3
Donna Diamond

One can conclude that half the Chinese population could easily have COVID given the high positive rate they’re seeing at Malpensa on arriving flights from China. That means more variants, possibly worse ones, are on the way. And I thought the American Public Health Authorities screwed up a lot with their management until we now see what’s coming out of China, three years out. Wow, what a total catastrophe of mismanagement of the pandemic by the Chinese Government.

3
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