Hong Kong suspends COVID flight bans as it eases lockdown rules

hong kong suspends covid flight bans

Hong Kong has suspended a rule that banned individual flights for bringing in passengers infected with the COVID-19 virus, as it caused “unnecessary trouble” and inconvenience to residents of the global financial hub, the government said.

Airlines welcome the move that paves the way for the return of scores stranded overseas by the bans, which exceeded 100 this year and immensely frustrated people accustomed to effortless and efficient travel links with the former British colony.

In a statement regarding the recall of the ban, the Hong Kong government said that the social cost caused by the ‘circuit breaker mechanism’ is quite significant and brings unnecessary trouble to international students and their families.

All arrivals must still spend at least a week in hotel quarantine and comply with frequent testing orders, providing baby stool samples and filling out multiple forms.

The Hong Kong government aims to improve quarantine arrangements to ease the movement of people “necessary for economic and social recovery,” it added.

Airlines earlier faced a ban of five days if their flights brought in more than five infected people. That was down from as much as two weeks before, making operations more challenging as the city’s borders were effectively shut for over two years.

The pandemic measures had hammered Hong Kong’s competitiveness, said business executives who hope the city’s new leader, John Lee, will scrap the quarantine rules.