Beijing Closes Schools as It Tries to Contain an Outbreak

Schools in Beijing, where a coronavirus outbreak has alarmed Chinese leaders, were closed on Friday and dozens of buildings remained under lockdown, as a five-day holiday weekend approached. The Chinese capital has recorded more than 200 cases since April 22, according to officials — a tiny number most anywhere else in the world, but cause for concern for officials in China, where the coronavirus has been kept largely under control for two years. The central government is still adhering to a policy of trying to stamp out local transmission, rather…

From the U.S. to China: A 3-Month Quarantine Horror Story

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Before boarding his flight from Los Angeles to the Chinese city of Guangzhou, Xue Liangquan, a California-based lawyer, knew he was in for a bit of a headache. To visit his parents in eastern Shandong Province in January, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, Mr. Xue, 37, had already shelled out $7,600 for airfare. He had submitted negative test results to the Chinese authorities, as required for entry. Upon arrival, he would have to do three weeks of quarantine. Even so, he never could have foreseen just…

Tourism Begins to Revive in New York, but Not Among Chinese

After two years of sparse crowds in Times Square and other popular attractions, New York City is finally hoping for a robust rebound of visitors this year. But the city will still be missing a main driver of its prepandemic tourism boom: big spenders from China, whose government has yet to allow travel abroad. Before the pandemic, China was the fastest-growing source of foreign visitors to the city, with more than 1.1 million Chinese tourists arriving in 2019. Their impact on New York’s economy was supersized because they tended to…

Your Monday Briefing: Shelling in Ukraine intensifies

Russia’s imminent invasion? U.S. intelligence learned last week that the Kremlin had ordered an invasion of Ukraine to proceed, prompting a dire warning by President Biden that President Vladimir Putin had made the decision to attack. The new intelligence reveals that 40 to 50 percent of the Russian forces surrounding Ukraine have moved out of staging and into combat formation. Russian artillery fire escalated sharply in eastern Ukraine this weekend, deepening fears of an imminent attack and potentially giving Russia a pretext to invade. Ukrainians reluctantly left their homes, some…

Omicron Surge in Asia Restricts Travel for Lunar New Year

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The Omicron variant has dampened the plans of tens of millions of people across several Asian countries to travel during the Lunar New Year, as officials battle the pandemic for a third year. Observed this year on Feb. 1, Lunar New Year falls just as many countries are seeing surges in coronavirus cases. Omicron is becoming the dominant variant in countries like South Korea, which expects up to 90 percent of its cases to be Omicron-related by the end of February. Before the pandemic, as many as three billion trips…

Delta Says Flight to Shanghai Was Turned Round in Midair Because of Cleaning Rules

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A Delta Air Lines flight that was en route from Seattle to Shanghai turned back in midair last week because the Chinese airport had imposed new cleaning rules that would have caused delays, the airline said in a statement on Tuesday. “The new cleaning procedures require significantly extended ground time and are not operationally viable for Delta,” the airline said. Details of the new cleaning regulations in place at Shanghai Pudong International Airport were not immediately clear, but China has rolled out increasingly strict Covid-19 travel rules amid a growing…

Chinese Tourists Aren’t Coming Back Any Time Soon

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On Jeju Island in South Korea, the markets have gone dark. In Bangkok, bored hawkers wait around for customers who never come. In Bali, tour guides have been laid off. In Paris and Rome, the long lines of people with selfie sticks and sun hats are a distant memory. This was supposed to be the year travel came back. In Europe and Asia, many countries reopened their airports and welcomed tourists. But they are confronting a new reality: Variants such as Omicron are causing global panic, leading governments to shut…

This Chinese City Requires 28 Days of Quarantine. Then Another 28.

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Some places have come under criticism for their long quarantines, but few can compare to the northern Chinese city of Shenyang. Travelers arriving there from overseas must spend 28 days in hotel quarantine, and during the hotel stay they are not allowed to open the door except to take in food deliveries. They are tested seven times for the coronavirus over that period. And once that hotel quarantine is over, they are expected to avoid going outside their home for another 28 days. The latest restrictions, which have been in…

Tourists in Asia Navigate a Patchwork of Policies

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While fully vaccinated Americans can fly to hundreds of cities and towns across the country and 27 European capitals, border rules across Asia remain far stricter than in any other region in the world. Governments in Asia have promised to reopen their borders because of the improved Covid situation and progress on vaccinations. But they are falling behind the rest of the world. Air travel in August across the region was still 10 percent of what it was two years ago, lagging the rebound in the United States. Travelers must…