Good news for flyers! Hong Kong to lift flight ban from India on THIS date
A ban on flights from Australia, Britain, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and the United States would be lifted from April 1 and reducing quarantine for arrivals from abroad.
- Hong Kong to lift ban from nine countries
- Hotel quarantine for arrivals could be cut to seven days
- Hong Kong`s border has effectively been shut since 2020
Hong Kong plans to lift a ban on flights from nine countries starting next month, and further reduce quarantine for arrivals from abroad.
A ban on flights from Australia, Britain, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United States would be lifted from April 1. The moves, announced on March 21 by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, come after a backlash from businesses and residents who see the rest of the world shifting to "living with the virus."
"The flight ban is no longer timely and appropriate...it will bring huge disturbances to Hong Kong people who are stuck in these nine countries if we continue the ban," Lam said in a news briefing.
Hotel quarantine for arrivals could be cut to seven days from 14 if residents tested negative, Lam said. She had previously said measures would be in place until April 20.
Hong Kong`s border has effectively been shut since 2020 with few flights able to land and hardly any passengers allowed to transit, isolating a city that had built a reputation as a global financial hub.
Businesses and the city`s economy are reeling from widespread closures, while doctors say many of the city`s 7.4 million residents are grappling with rising mental health issues, particularly among low-income families.
A plan to carry out mass Covid-19 testing would be put on hold, Lam said, citing experts who said it was not a suitable time. Hong Kong needs to have a clear exit strategy rather than trying to completely eradicate the virus, experts said.
While the former British colony has officially stuck to the "dynamic zero" Covid-19 policy, similar to mainland China, which seeks to curb all outbreaks, it has been shifting to mitigation strategies as deaths skyrocketed. Hong Kong has registered the most deaths per million people globally in recent weeks – more than 24 times that of rival Singapore - due to a large proportion of elderly who were unvaccinated as the highly transmissible Omicron variant ripped through care homes since February.
The densely packed city has recorded more than 1 million infections since the pandemic started and about 5,000 deaths - most of them in the past month. As many as 4 million people could be infected according to estimates from health experts as many residents have contracted the virus and isolated at home without notifying authorities.
Lam said social distancing measures would be eased in phases starting April 21, allowing restaurant dining after 6 p.m. with tables of four people from two currently.
Until this year, Hong Kong had been far more successful at controlling the coronavirus than many other cities its size, but the latest wave of infections swamped its world-class medical system, morgues are overflowing and public confidence in the city government is at an all-time low.
(With inputs from Reuters)