Hong Kong has imposed a temporary restriction on passenger flights from eight countries in order to combat the spread of the omicron strain of COVID-19.
“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.”
Between January 8 and 21, Hong Kong will prohibit all passenger flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Any traveler who has recently visited any of those nations, according to Lam, will not be allowed to board an aircraft to Hong Kong. Passengers who have transited through airports in any of the eight nations are included in this category.
“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.”
A 21-day mandatory quarantine in designated hotels for arriving passengers from a broad list of nations had already curtailed passenger demand for flights to Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific announced earlier this week that in January, it would operate a “bones passenger travel schedule.”
The airline stated that it was reacting to new flight crew rules that require all flight crew arriving in Hong Kong to quarantine for three days in a designated hotel, regardless of whether or not they have tested positive for COVID-19.