China will begin allowing direct flights to Beijing from eight countries, starting 3 September.

Flights from Thailand, Cambodia, Pakistan, Greece, Denmark, Austria, Sweden and Canada will be “restored to Beijing”, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on 2 September. The first flight will be on 3 September from Phnom Penh and operated by flag carrier Air China.

Since 23 March, all flights to the capital have been diverted to designated “first entry points”. As of 1 September, 511 international passenger flights have been diverted to a first point of entry, the CAAC says.

Despite the gradual relaxation, the civil aviation regulator made clear it is not letting its guard down.

“In order to further improve the prevention and control of the [Covid-19 pandemic] after the flights resume, the Civil Aviation Administration will take more stringent prevention and control measures on all direct international passenger flights to Beijing, based on the strict implementation of the flight circuit-breaker policy,” it said.

If more than three cases of Covid-19 are reported on the same flight, the CAAC will reimpose the diversion to a first entry point, outside of Beijing. It added that it would “strictly control” passenger load factors, though it did not disclose the permitted maximum load factor for these flights.