Provided by Tom Ulmet on June 4, 2020.
China Loosens International Flight Restrictions (a tiny bit)!
On June 4, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced that foreign airlines will be able to commence with flights to China. “China’s civil aviation regulator on Thursday moved to loosen international flight restrictions by allowing all qualified foreign airlines to resume services to China from Monday, aiming to boost international travel essential to a faster economic recovery while continuing efforts to stem the arrival of imported coronavirus cases.” This means that the recently announced Five Ones policy of one airline, one country, one route, one week and one flight has already loosened due to international pressures. The change in the policy now allows for all previously qualified foreign airlines to operate one route and one flight per week provided the airlines take steps to screen and prevent infected COVID-19 passengers from flying.
“The regulator (CAAC) also said it will implement a reward and punishment mechanism for all airlines. Carriers that for three consecutive weeks do not carry any passengers on flights to China who test positive for the coronavirus will be allowed to open one more flight to China each week.
However, if a carrier’s number of passengers on China flights who test positive for the coronavirus reaches five, that airline’s flights to China will be suspended for one week. If the number reaches 10, operations will be suspended for four weeks.” 1)
Good luck with that! So, while loosening the regulation to resume flights by foreign airlines, there was still no indication that foreigners can actually reenter China at this time or during the summer months as the virus continues to rage through other countries. Remember that social distancing requirements on international flights reduced by at least 50% or more the number of passengers in any one aircraft. Following the revised policy that must still take into account the restriction of one flight per week for authorized airlines, this move allows Chinese citizens who were abroad and unable to return due to flight limitations and quarantine limits to now have more opportunities to return to China at less cost. "The Chinese government has always paid attention to overseas Chinese. The new rule shows China is making efforts to bring them home.” "But taking into account China's border control measures, the overall flight number is still within control." 2)
Why Flight Limits?
It is useful to review briefly the meaning of “border controls measures and overall flight number is still within control.” In view of the uncontrolled hot spots in many parts of the world and the realization that every arriving flight could have passengers who might recycle the virus, quarantine hotels at arriving airports were established. In each of the designated nine arrival cities in China, between 15 and 20 quarantine hotels can accommodate up to 5000 total arriving passengers within a two-week quarantine time period. Each airport is assigned to accept flights from a designated region with Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou accepting transpacific flights and some from the southern hemisphere. This means that, in those three main receiving airports, about 15,000 arrivals can be processed for reentry within a two-week time frame. At this rate, once the foreigner ban is lifted it could take 33 weeks from when the ban is lifted to process 250,000 people trying to enter for employment purposes, unless adjustments are made to the quarantine requirements or the number of quarantine hotels. The current adjustment to the Five Ones policy allows Chinese citizens who are subject to the same quarantines and number of quarantine hotels to return sooner to clear out that backlog before opening to the foreigner backlog. 3)
Tom Ulmet, “Foreigner Ban and Five Ones Policy”, ACAMIS COVID-19 Update #10, May 26, 2020.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020!
Many of you have either held graduation ceremonies or are preparing for them. This class of graduates and their incredible teachers have faced enormous challenges, some of which have shaken external examination systems, university guidance counseling, and university admissions. In the end, students have been forced to take more individual responsibility for their learning and examination preparations than ever before. Many hurdles still exist.
- Will universities be able to open in the autumn?
- If not, will families be willing to pay the cost for more online learning.
- Will borders be open so international students can enter university or return to the universities they have been attending?
- Will international flights be sufficient in number to accommodate the vast number of students who returned home when the lockdown began? **
- Can student visas be issued in a timely manner?
- Will student visas be issued at all this year?
- Will mandatory quarantines be in place? Where, how long?
- How can any of the travel details and other arrangements be undertaken until they know if universities will be open?
- What kinds of additional costs might students face?
- Depending on the country of origin, how will students be tested or screened for the coronavirus at point of entry? Although students from China are nearly 99% certain to be virus free when they depart, what about students from other hot spots in the world?
- Will parents want their children to study abroad during times of health risk and social unrest?
- Will universities be able to survive the financial losses from reduced numbers of international students?
These and other issues place an additional burden on university guidance counselors to console, reassure and assist students as they go through these uncertainties. One thing is sure. The Class of 2020 will never forget their senior/final year of school.
** “Statista shows that in 2018/19 the majority of international students studying in the United States are originally from China and India, totaling 369,548 students and 202,014 students.” The data for 2019-2020 will appear in November 2020.
With this total comprising about 50% of all undergraduate international students in the US, we can project that there are about 1 million total international students in the US in any one year. In addition, there were 377,943 graduate students. While most students remain in the US during their studies, this year about 20% returned to their home country during the shutdown. This means that about 250,000 students will be trying to find a way to reenter the US in August, not including the 90,000+ new students who will enter for the first time. While not to the same extent, international students in other countries such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, face the same difficulties. With limited flights, good luck. 4)
Dynamic Change in America
I have been asked many times by people all around the world, “What is happening in America?” Why is this question so important to them? The education of this generation is often in doubt. However, the past two weeks have shown that integrated education has brought people of many origins together in school where they have developed common values and respect for cultural and language differences. They are marching arm in arm in protest against racism, bigotry, hatred, and systemic injustice fostered over time by powerful people with obsolete ideals. This is made of courage and determination as has been shown in other parts of Asia in the past year. Education has made this generation different. As educators, this illustration of rebellion in the most powerful and wealthy nation on earth is truly useful. It gives us pause to reflect on our curricula to refine the parts on concepts of moral and character education, philosophy, equality, respect for all peoples and cultures and opportunities for all. It is always difficult to explain or understand social currents in the USA, but with so many conflicting stories and images in the media, it is worth a try because this is all about character, morality, decency, fairness and justice. Donald Trump was elected President because a certain segment of the population perceived they had lost status and jobs in the “rust belt”, the main factory production region from Ohio to Michigan and Pennsylvania. Now three and a half years into his presidency, the United States has been hit with three simultaneous disasters within two months. Following is a brief summary of the articles cited in the References.
1. Coronavirus Volatility:
Wanting to “drain the swamp” (cut government bureaucracy), he cut the CDC staff and dismantled all of the vast preparations and storehouse of supplies created originally by George W Bush and advanced by Barack Obama. Trump claimed to have been surprised by the sudden appearance of the coronavirus now known as COVID- 19. Instead of working with WHO and CDC, despite warnings from his advisers of the volatility of the virus, he decided on his own that he would take charge, then claim it was not his responsibility and then not take charge. As the virus spread, he lashed out and blamed China, WHO, CDC, and anyone who got in his line of sight, including Governors of many states who were pleading for emergency supplies and assistance. 10 days ago when 1.5 million Americans were infected and the death toll passed 100,000 (and continues to increase at about 1000 per day), citizens realized that they were rapidly losing elderly relatives all across the country. He tore up plans to contain the virus and missed out on the three basic elements of containment; testing, tracking and mitigation. Hospitals were overwhelmed and front-line staff were dying without adequate personal protective equipment.
In the cities hardest hit, the majority of health care workers that died were Black and Hispanic Americans who dutifully carried on serving those in need while they themselves were in the face of death. 46% of all deaths are among Native, Black and Hispanic Americans.
5) “How the Pandemic Will End”, The Atlantic, March 25, 2020
2. Economic Downturn into Recession
This section could start with the persistent efforts to dismantle the health care system put in place during the Obama presidency and prevent universal health care. Suddenly, this has become the nation’s first priority. Hardest hit by the virus are Native, Black and Hispanic Americans and other poor segments of society. As the need for stay at home orders grew, the economy quickly came to a standstill. Now with 40,000,000 people suddenly unemployed, the government passed a three-trillion dollar relief plan referred to as a stimulus measure. Approximately 460 Billion dollars went to the unemployed in a one-time payment and the rest was directed by the President to support big business. A 30-billion dollar measure to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure that the opposition party opposed during the Obama years, once again was left out. This would have provided manual labor employment immediately and visibly all across America with positive benefits for everyone just at the right time. No. Meanwhile, the President removed the nation’s watchdog over public expenditures, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and placed oversight within the White House. The most unemployed from the shutdown are Native, Black and Hispanic Americans who do the essential jobs of trash removal, picking fruit and vegetables, keeping the cities clean, driving public transport, etc. They are also the next generation of entrepreneurs.
3. Police Excess of Force (Brutality)
This appears to be a new generation of young people who have studied together through school, who believe that America is a nation of immigrants and cultures and that this is its strength. Unfortunately, over time, the police and justice systems were shaped by powerful people whose beliefs were shaped over generations by the country’s tainted history and the police forces do not yet contain near the proportion of minorities in the country. Education has changed this generation of high school and university graduates. Within a two-week time span, three brutal deaths occurred at the hands of police under questionable circumstances, one of which was in Minneapolis, the site where an unarmed Australian woman who had called police was shot by a policeman when she approached the vehicle to summon them. In Louisville Kentucky two weeks ago police conducted a badly planned raid after midnight on the wrong house and shot and killed a young woman, one of their own dedicated black EMT workers. It turned out they had the wrong house and the suspect they were pursuing was already in custody two days earlier. Ten days ago in Minneapolis, an unarmed black man was arrested, hand cuffed, held down and an officer held his knee on his neck for over 8 1⁄2 minutes despite the man’s plea that has now become a symbol for justice, “I can’t breathe.” Four police officers have since been arrested for participation in that killing. Social injustice impacts Native, Black and Hispanic Americans more than any other segment of society.
With so many frustrations built up in the population from the injustices over time, cities across America exploded overnight in demonstrations, some with small pockets of people burning and looting that has been shown around the world. What was not as visible until recently were the thousands of people of all ages from a wide range of ethnic origins who were demonstrating peacefully. After three days of disorder, looting and burning, these crowds responded by taking over, speaking out and driving the looters away from the demonstrations and converted most of the demonstrations into peaceful protests. One such demonstration took place in Lafayette Park across from the White House in Washington DC. President Trump made his now famous, “I am the President of Law and Order” speech without any acknowledgement that the people demonstrating were there because they are demanding law and order from the police as well as fairness and justice. Without provocation, the President ordered the United States Military to clear H street of thousands of peaceful protestors so he could walk across the street to stand outside historic St John’s Church for a photo op holding a Bible (which he did not realize he was holding upside down). He then ordered the Secretary of Defense to a make a strong statement that the military could be sent to any state that appears to be out of control with demonstrations, while stating, ”We will deploy maximum force in the battlespace.” That was three long nights ago. The use of military as an instrument of policing the American people is a violation of the Constitution of the United States. This infuriated young and old alike and each night crowds of peaceful protesters have grown from thousands to hundreds of thousands as they enter the 11th night. Recently we have seen images of police, police chiefs, mayors, national guard and other local voices for change march together through the streets. The Pope condemned Donald Trump for not behaving as a Christian, and that therefore he is not one. Top, well-respected retired military leaders, including a former Marine Corps General and Secretary of Defense under the last three Presidents, the former commander of NATO Security Forces and of the US Army in Afghanistan, and a former Admiral and Chief of Staff have all protested the illegal use of the American military for policing the people. The Secretary of Defense is on the defensive and in fear for his job. These articles make very interesting reading as they portray with great accuracy what is happening that cannot be fully seen in the news media. Change in America is upon us and the media are now regularly counting the number of days until the election. Education has united the young people of America from all ethnic origins, faiths, and gender in favor of universal health care, gun control, student loan debt relief, reform of the police and justice systems and respect for all people. Change is coming to America, taking precedence over the health and employment crises that should have kept people at home. Unwittingly, the President has enabled the rapid erosion of Federal Power to the States and the people. Change is coming, led by young people with a sense of fairness and justice for all and the cry of Vote! 8), 9), 10)
References in Order of Appearance:
1. “China loosens international flight restrictions as economic recovery accelerates“, Global Times, June 4, 2020
2. “China Loosens International Flight Restrictions”, GD Today, June 4, 2020
3. Tom Ulmet, “Foreigner Ban and Five Ones Policy”, ACAMIS COVID-19 Update #10, May 26, 2020
4. Erin Duffin, “Number of International Students Studying in the United States in 2018-19, by Country of Origin” November 19, 2019
5. Ed Yong, “How the Pandemic Will End”, The Atlantic, March 25, 2020
6. David Brooks, “If We Had a Real Leader”, My Herald Review, May 29, 2020
7. Simon Tidal, “US's global reputation hits rock-bottom over Trump's coronavirus response”, April 12, 2020,
8. Jeffrey Goldberg, “James Mattis Denounces President Trump, Describes Him as a Threat to the Constitution”, The Atlantic, June 3, 2020
9. John Allen, “A Moment of National Shame and Peril—and Hope”, Foreign Policy-the Global Magazine of News and Ideas, June 3, 2020
10. Mike Mullen, “I Cannot Remain Silent”, The Atlantic, June 2, 2020