Hong Kong continues to take stiff measures to control the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19, temporarily banning passenger flights from eight countries.
“If we continue to have inbound flights, then each day we will have a high number of imported cases,” Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said in a Jan. 5 press conference. “We should stop imported cases.”
Lam announced that Hong Kong will ban all passenger flights between Jan. 8 and Jan. 21 from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the UK and the US. Lam emphasized that any passenger who has recently been in any of those countries would not be allowed to board a flight for Hong Kong. This includes passengers who have transited through airports in any of the eight countries.
“The situation in Hong Kong is deteriorating,” Lam said, adding that “decisive” action is needed to protect the city. She said COVID-19 is “rampant in the US and European countries … We have to contain the pandemic.”
Passenger demand for flights to Hong Kong had already been severely curtailed by a 21-day mandatory quarantine in designated hotels for arriving passengers from a long list of countries.
Cathay Pacific said earlier this week that it would fly a “skeleton passenger flight schedule” in January. The airline said it was responding to new flight crew restrictions, which require all flight crew arriving in Hong Kong to quarantine in a designated hotel for three days, regardless of whether crew members have tested positive for COVID-19 or not.