China covid test
This photo taken on March 6, 2022 shows a resident undergoing a nucleic acid test for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. Image Credit: AFP

Bloomberg: More than 100 international flights will be diverted away from Shanghai to other cities to ease pressure on quarantine hotels and isolation facilities in the financial hub as China battles growing pockets of Covid-19.

A total of 106 flights on 22 routes will be diverted between March 21 and May 1, state broadcaster CCTV reported Tuesday, citing a statement by the nation's aviation authority. The flights are operated by Air China Ltd., China Eastern Airlines Corp., Shanghai Airlines Co., Juneyao Airlines Co. and Spring Airlines Co., CCTV said, without providing details of which routes would be affected.

Bloomberg News reported Friday that China had discussed diverting flights from Shanghai, the country's prime gateway for international travel and home to its main stock exchange and many corporate headquarters. Pudong airport in the city's east handled 40% of inbound international air passenger traffic since the start of the pandemic, according to local media Yicai.

Shanghai, which reported 139 new Covid cases Monday compared with two at the start the month, has been implementing measures to contain the virus, including shutting most schools and public parks and blocking bus travel from other provinces. On Monday, authorities locked down Shanghai Tower, China's tallest building. Nationwide, more than 5,000 new infections were reported Monday, the highest number since the early days of the pandemic, as the central government imposed mass lockdowns in parts of the country.

Under the Civil Aviation Administration of China's plan, international flights to Shanghai will be diverted to 12 other cities across the country, including Chengdu, Dalian, Hangzhou and Fuzhou, according to the CCTV report.

China's mandatory quarantine policy and border curbs have severely reduced international flights into the country, with many carriers not flying there at all any more. Some foreign airlines are still operating despite punitive policies that have resulted in flight suspensions.

Dozens of flights into Shanghai, which has a population of about 25 million, were canceled on Tuesday, the website for the city's main airport showed.

Air China, China Eastern, Spring Air and Juneyao were among the biggest decliners on a Bloomberg index of Asia-Pacific carriers Tuesday, falling as much as 6%.