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China reopens its borders as lunar new year travel rush begins

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China has lifted one of its final Covid-19 quarantine measures, as international travellers arrive onshore

After almost three years of strict Covid-19 measures, China has opened its border.

On Sunday, mainland China opened to Hong Kong travellers as part of the last Covid-zero strategy, which has been a hallmark of Beijing’s response to the pandemic.

The policy, which had been described as “draconian” by Human Rights Watch, had largely kept China’s 1.4 billion people safe from the virus.

However, it had also cut Beijing off from the rest of the world and led to nationwide protests at some of the nation’s largest univerisities.

One woman told the AFP news agency she was pleased with the easing of restrictions, while waiting at Shanghai’s Pudong international airport.

“I think it’s really good that the policy has changed now, it’s really humane.”

“It’s a necessary step, I think. Covid has become normalised now and after this hurdle everything will be smooth,” she said.

As the Covid measures were loosened, many rushed to plan travel abroad.

However, some European countries imposed mandatory pre-departure Covid-19 tests on Chinese travellers.

The European Union said tests should be taken not more than 48 hours prior to departure from China.

It follows a rise in locally-acquired Covid-19 infection across China, making it the nation’s worst-ever outbreak.

Travel freedom as lunar new year looms

Millions of Chinese travellers are expected to take to the skies as China enters its busy lunar new year holiday period.

On Saturday, China marked the start of the 40-day travel period.

China’s Ministry of Transport said more than 2 billion passengers will travel in the 40-day holiday period.

Beijing officials believe it would mark 70 per cent of the holiday traffic seen on pre-pandemic figures.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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Without drastic change, global IT outage will hit again

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Elements of Friday’s global IT outage have occurred before and until more contingencies are built into networks, and organisations put better back-up plans in place, it will happen again.

A widespread Microsoft outage is affecting Australia’s supermarkets, banks, telecommunications companies.

There are also reports of outages in Japan and the United States.

The ongoing widespread outage is reportedly related to US-based cybersecurity provider CrowdStrike. Its ‘Falcon sensor’ is installed on many business computers to gather security data.

In a statement to Ticker News, StickmanCyber said:

“Multiple StickmanCyber security engineering and our 24×7/365 security operations teams across the country support reports that this outage is related to a CrowdStrike update. 
 
“It is our understanding that any business running versions 7.15 and 7.16 are affected by the outage, but 7.17 seems to be ok. We are waiting on official advisory from CrowdStrike on these findings but doing our best to help affected customers. It’s a lesson to always update your software, but obviously this is an extreme example. IT security tools are all designed to ensure that companies can continue to operate in the worst-case scenario of a data breach, so to be the root cause of a global IT outage is an unmitigated disaster.
 
“Crowdstrike support is offering a workaround to customers. It claims users may be able to fix the issue by booting windows in safe mode or in the Windows Recovery Environment and deleting a file named “C-00000291*.sys”.   

“CrowdStrike is aware of reports of crashes on Windows hosts related to the Falcon sensor,” the company said in a statement on its website.

“Symptoms include hosts experiencing a bugcheck\blue screen error related to the Falcon sensor. Our engineering teams are actively working to resolve this issue and there is no need to open a support ticket.

“Status updates will be posted below [on the Microsoft websit€0 as we have more information to share, including when the issue is resolved.”

Laptops down

Thousands of users across the world reported problems with Microsoft services to Downdector.com, a website that tracks service disruptions.

Microsoft laptops suddenly restarted across Australia on Friday afternoon.

Outage website Downdetector shows issues across companies including NAB, Bendigo Bank, Telstra, CBA, Google.

Microsoft response

As users take to social media to complain, Microsoft reported a service outage for its Microsoft 365 apps and services, affecting businesses and users across the world.

“We’re investigating an issue impacting users ability to access various Microsoft 365 apps and services,” Microsoft 365 Status said on X early Friday.

Microsoft didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment.

Frontier airlines

 

The outage forced low-cost airline Frontier to cancel some flights. “Our systems are currently impacted by a Microsoft outage, which is also affecting other companies,” Frontier said in a statement. “We appreciate your patience.” The carrier said it would offer refunds to affected passengers.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Frontier asked it to pause the airline’s departures across the U.S. Thursday night. The ground stop was later lifted. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It said it is “observing a positive trend in service availability” as it continues to mitigate the problem.

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