Hong Kong to allow foreigners to fly into city starting next month, government to ease flight suspension threshold


  • Coalition of major travel agents in Hong Kong predicts that more than 100,000 guests will arrive each and every month
  • Hong Kong will also take it easy threshold for suspending incoming flights carrying infected individuals starting up on Might 1

Hong Kong will allow foreigners to fly into the metropolis starting off following thirty day period, the federal government has declared, ending an entry ban that has stored most site visitors away for additional than two yrs and giving a probable lifeline to businesses very long battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The city will also chill out the threshold for suspending incoming flights carrying infected passengers from Could 1, officials said on Friday, confirming an before Publish report. The existing a few-man or woman threshold will be elevated to five, or 5 for every cent of the passengers on a single flight, whichever is bigger. The duration of time flight routes are suspended will be cut from seven days to 5.

In asserting the conclusion of the entry ban, the Food items and Overall health Bureau disclosed the selection to reopen the city to foreigners was designed soon after a government steering committee reviewed the circumstance.

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“Thinking about public health elements … and balancing the expectation from users of the community as perfectly as the various sectors of the group … the committee considers that there is room to suitably change suitable actions,” it reported.

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All arrivals at Hong Kong Intercontinental Airport, including people and readers, will be needed to just take a rapid antigen exam (RAT), in addition to the typical polymerase chain response (PCR) types, it uncovered. Those who examination unfavorable through RAT can take committed transportation to bear 7 days of quarantine at specified accommodations, when ready for their PCR examination result.

“This can shorten the ready time at the airport and cut down passenger flows,” it claimed.

The bureau mentioned that of all bacterial infections recorded between January and March, only 3 for every cent were being imported, when the proportion fell to 1 per cent for situations logged because April 1, when a ban on flights from 9 nations together with Britain and the United States finished.

The the proportion of imported circumstances dropped inspite of the quantity of every day arrivals jumping from 300 all through the first a few months of the yr to about 1,200 given that the commence of April.

The developments arrived as wellbeing authorities documented 574 bacterial infections and 15 more fatalities linked to the virus, taking the city’s in general tally to 1,200,908 conditions and 9,227 fatalities.

Turkish Airlines was barred from flying from Istanbul to Hong Kong for a week after three passengers on board an April 8 flight tested positive for the coronavirus. Photo: Shutterstock

© Supplied by South China Early morning Publish
Turkish Airlines was barred from flying from Istanbul to Hong Kong for a 7 days right after three travellers on board an April 8 flight examined constructive for the coronavirus. Photo: Shutterstock

Hong Kong barred non-people from most nations around the world from getting into in 2021 as Omicron variant started to unfold all around the entire world, and by this past January, the number of areas on the “no-entry record” experienced ballooned to a lot more than 160, while site visitors who experienced stayed in mainland China, Macau or Taiwan were unaffected.

This previous February, only 2,600 persons arrived in the city for the purposes of journey, a far cry from the 5 million visitors recorded in the similar thirty day period in 2019 just before the pandemic hit.

The choice to scrap the entry ban was welcomed by a leading travel industry overall body working under the Society of Intercontinental Air Transportation Association (IATA).

Tommy Tam Kwong-shun, chairman of the Culture of IATA Passenger Brokers, a coalition of the greatest journey agents in Hong Kong, anticipated much more than 100,000 readers would arrive each individual thirty day period.

Tam reported ending the ban would aid the difficult-hit tourism industry, but the metropolis nevertheless had a means to go in comparison to other destinations all over the location, these kinds of as Thailand and Singapore, which had lifted their quarantine constraints for absolutely vaccinated travellers.

Hong Kong’s flag provider Cathay Pacific stated the most recent measures were being a optimistic direction for strengthening connectivity to the aviation hub, and it would be working to resume a lot more flights. According to Cathay’s website, the airline’s most recent additional flights bundled 3 hauls to London, two to Sydney, one particular to Perth, 4 to Vancouver and 5 to Tokyo in April and May.

The government’s shift came just after Communist Bash mouthpiece People’s Day-to-day warned in a commentary on Thursday that Hongkongers must be careful of a prospective rebound of Covid-19 bacterial infections.

Online queries soar following Hong Kong suggests it will raise flight ban

“Hong Kong’s epidemic problem is likely in a great path, but [we] cannot afford to pay for to be careless,” it wrote.

The commentary also mentioned that imposing a “dynamic-zero” infection system was a prerequisite for the town to resume quarantine-cost-free journey with the mainland.

Previous town leader Leung Chun-ying, now an elder statesman, urged the federal government to go faster in reopening the town, saying it was crucial to endorse “Hong Kong and China stories” to other nations around the world, as he famous that most of the money hub’s main trade associates had by now lifted quarantine restrictions.

Nightlife and leisure magnate Allan Zeman, who lobbied the authorities to take it easy travel limits, identified as the finish of the entry ban a “newborn step ahead”, and mentioned it would enable firms to once once again deliver executives to the global economic hub. But he urged authorities to make sure quarantine hotels ended up accessible to take the flow of arrivals.

“It really is by no means much too late. I assume that it can be a good to start with stage to allow Hong Kong begin to get a breath of clean air,” he reported.

He recommended the following phase could be a more peace of the threshold for suspending incoming flights so the go only arrived when 10 per cent of travellers were being contaminated, or shortening the 7-day quarantine so as to bring in a lot more travellers.

When Hong Kong lifted the blanket ban on journey from nine countries on April 1, it also halved the obligatory hotel quarantine for returning citizens to seven days. The route-specific suspension system was also modified, chopping the size of the suspension from a fortnight to a week.

Suspension of a route is also activated if three travellers on a flight take a look at optimistic, up from the earlier one, and at least just one or additional are unsuccessful to clearly show all the needed paperwork relevant to their well being situation and travel background.

Turkish Airlines, for instance, was barred from flying from Istanbul to Hong Kong for a 7 days just after 3 travellers on board an April 8 flight tested optimistic for the coronavirus.

Extra than 70 flight route bans have been imposed so much this year, with 11 impacting 10 airways in the past 7 days by yourself. Aside from Turkish Airlines, other carriers that were being handed 7 days-prolonged suspensions bundled Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates Airways and Thai Airways.

Hong Kong travellers in a take care of as airline routes deal with bans above Covid-19 travellers

Among the 25 suspensions executed in April so far, 19 ended up triggered due to the fact at minimum a few travellers on the identical flight examined constructive on arrival, though 6 routes have been halted after at minimum just one passenger tested constructive and at minimum a single other experienced unsuccessful to present all the expected documents.

The IATA stated the easing of the flight suspension mechanism was a action ahead but considerably remained to be performed.

“The issue is that airways nevertheless face the chance of a suspension for a thing outside the house of their regulate even even though passengers have introduced the needed files and test certificates,” spokesman Albert Tjoeng said.

Further reporting by Kathleen Magramo, Elizabeth Cheung, Victor Ting, Ezra Cheung and Laura Westbrook

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This write-up initially appeared on the South China Morning Put up (www.scmp.com), the leading information media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2022. South China Early morning Write-up Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.


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