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China’s zero-Covid policy still creating headaches for overseas students

Anayat Ali, a fourth-year PhD student at Tongji University in Shanghai, is finally set to return to China after being stranded in India for almost three years due to the strict coronavirus border controls. It is a long overdue journey that comes with the heaviest price tag he has ever paid for a flight.

Ali will transit to China via Hong Kong on October 7 as there are no direct flights from India. The journey, which includes a four-day stopover in Hong Kong to comply with quarantine and testing requirements and then a further seven days of quarantine in China, will set him back around 150,000 Indian rupees (US$1,880).

Ali’s father will cover the cost of the trip, which amounts to a little more than his entirely monthly income of US$1,500. When Ali first travelled to China in 2019, the trip cost him a mere 18,000 rupees (US$226).


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