The Hong Kong government has banned passenger flights from India for 14 days starting Tuesday over fears of the mutant coronavirus. In addition to India, the city administration has also barred flights from Pakistan and the Philippines. It also said that passengers who have stayed in these three countries for more than two hours in transit for a flight to Hong Kong cannot enter for 14 days.
A circuit breaker arrangement is triggered for each of the countries as there had been five or more arrivals with the N501Y mutant coronavirus strain within seven days, the government said. Under the mechanism the three countries will be designated as “extremely high-risk.” The city reported 30 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, 29 of which were imported, marking the highest daily toll since March 15. Hong Kong has recorded over 11,600 cases in total and 209 deaths. Earlier on Sunday, the administration banned Indian carrier Vistara from flying there till May 2 after its flight from Mumbai on April 18 had three passengers who tested positive upon arrival. Airlines impacted by Hong Kong’s ban on travellers from India, Pakistan and the Philippines include carriers such as Cathay Pacific (0293.HK), Hong Kong Airlines, Vistara and Cebu Pacific. Hong Kong authorities have been urging residents to get vaccinated for coronavirus with only around 9% of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million residents vaccinated so far.