A flight attendant wearing a facemask on a flight to Shanghai at Tianhe Airport in Wuhan, in Chinas central Hubei province on May 29, 2020.
A flight attendant wearing a facemask on a flight to Shanghai at Tianhe Airport in Wuhan, in Chinas central Hubei province on May 29, 2020.
Photo: Getty Images

The Trump regime plans to ban all passenger flights from China as early as June 16, according to a new report from Reuters that cites airline officials. The plan is reportedly retaliation for the Chinese government’s refusal to allow most American flights to land in China while Chinese carriers continue to fly into the United States.

Advertisement

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, which still fly cargo to China, are reportedly the main drivers behind the new initiative, as they’ve been stopped from resuming normal passenger service to China in recent weeks. The White House ordered Chinese carriers to file flight schedules with the U.S. government on May 22, according to Reuters, which will likely be used to target flights that will no longer be allowed access to U.S. airspace.

China closed its borders to most foreign travelers in late March in an attempt to control the coronavirus pandemic. The country allows a limited number of flights per week from countries that have been hit hard by the pandemic, but it has opened up its own domestic air travel networks.

Advertisement

The outbreak is believed to have started in Wuhan, China, and though it was extremely deadly in the country, the government was able to get it under control through extensive testing, draconian lockdowns, and contact tracing. The U.S., by contrast, has not been able to get its pandemic under control, even before the anti-police brutality uprisings that have spread to every state in the country. The U.S. is currently experiencing mass civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, by a white police officer last week. President Donald Trump has vowed to “dominate” the protesters with the U.S. military, insisting repeatedly that they’re looters and “antifa.”

China currently has experienced roughly 84,000 infections and over 4,600 deaths from the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, with very few new cases in China each day. The U.S. has identified over 1.8 million covid-19 infections and at least 106,000 deaths total, though there are still at least 20,000 new cases per day and over 1,000 new daily deaths, according to the Financial Times.

Notably, countries that are opening up international travel are excluding countries that are still experiencing high rates of infection, like the U.S., which has the worst outbreak in the world. Greece announced last week that it would open to international tourists from 29 countries by June 15, but not nations like the U.S., Sweden, and Brazil. Greece is opening up to Chinese tourists, however.

The ban on Chinese travel could make it much harder for American companies to travel between the U.S. and China long term. Last year, Apple operated at least 50 flights per day to China from the U.S., spending at least $150 million. If this feud escalates, anyone traveling between the two countries will likely need to stop off in a neutral third country.

Advertisement

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

Share This Story

Get our newsletter