Hong Kong International Airport has announced that it will ban passengers from more than 150 countries and territories to control Omicron spread. The ban from 150 countries, which Hong Kong deems ‘high-risk’, will last for a month from January 16 to February 16. Besides, the people staying in any of these 150 countries in the last 21 days cannot enter Hong Kong even for transit purposes during this period.
According to Reuters, the passenger ban at Hong Kong airport will not apply to government officials, diplomats, athletes and staff participating in the Winter Olympics, which will commence in Beijing on February 4 .
“Travellers who have stayed in over 150 places deemed high risk in the last 21 days, including the United States and Britain, will be banned from transiting in Hong Kong from January 16 to February 15,” a notice posted at Hong Kong airport read.
The transit ban will impact heavily on several air carriers in Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific, the de facto flag airline serving Hong Kong International Airport, relies heavily on transit travellers for its operations. Besides the new ban, Hong Kong also placed a two-week flight ban from several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, India, Australia, and the United States, last week.
The latest Hong Kong Covid guidelines came in the light of the negligence of two airline crew members, who reportedly ignored the isolation rules and dined at the restaurants and bars in a city before getting tested as positive. According to some local reports, they are responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak in the city, which had managed to keep the place infection-free to a great extent.
Hong Kong follows a zero-tolerance policy to COVID-19
Hong Kong is notably strict in implementing measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the steps didn’t stop the outbreak from occurring, the country has managed to keep the spike of Omicron cases in control.
Besides the flight bans and passenger bans, Hong Kong has implemented restrictions in dining from restaurants in the evenings. It has banned people from entering public places such as museums, cinema halls, libraries and gyms. Hong Kong follows China’s policy of ‘zero tolerance to COVID-19’. The city is known to announce complete lockdown even if it detects asymptomatic COVID-19 cases.