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China's international travel recovery 'unforecastable'

COVID surge means any return to normality likely to be gradual

Travellers walk with their luggage at Beijing Capital International Airport on Dec. 27.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI/TOKYO -- Massive numbers of infections and unaccounted fatalities following China's loosening of zero-COVID restrictions mean that any recovery in international travel to and from the country is likely to be gradual.

China's planned ending of travel restrictions lifted financial markets in the region Tuesday, with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Composite Index rising more than 1% in midday trading. Chinese online travel platforms, including and Qunar, reported a sharp surge in airfare searches, with Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea among the popular destinations.

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