Hong Kong government has banned two Indian airlines – Air India and Vistara – from operating services to the country after a few passengers tested positive for COVID-19. The ban will remain in effect from October 17 – 30, 2020. While it is a third time ban for Air India, this is the first time for Vistara. The country insists the passengers submit a medical certificate showing the absence of COVID-19 for travel to Hong Kong. Only those test results taken no more than 72 hours prior to the journey is considered valid. The passengers also have to undergo a test post-arrival at Hong Kong airport before clearing immigration and baggage collection.
Travel to Hong Kong: Restrictions and Quarantine Compulsory
Besides India, Hong Kong makes COVID-19 negative medical certificates mandatory for all passengers from COVID-intense countries including Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa and the US for travel to Hong Kong.
The country has restricted public gathering to a maximum of four people except for members from the same household. The government has kept the restaurant services limited, including the bars.
The passengers have to wear the mask in all places, including during transportation. The failure to do so will attract a fine of 5000 HKD (nearly Rs. 47,500).
Repeated incidents for Air India
Hong Kong government restricted Air India twice before from September 20 to October 03, and from August 18 to August 30 due to its travellers testing positive for COVID-19 on arrival in Hong Kong.
Air India Express received a similar ban of few days in Dubai too when the test results of two passengers became positive for COVID-19. However, the government later changed the ban to a warning and allowed the airline to operate. In response to the incident, Air India Express later fired the employees of ground handling company citing oversight. The UAE government insists for COVID-negative certificate from a test taken 96 hours prior to the journey.