Hong Kong says to halve flight suspension rule to seven days

FILE PHOTO: A traveller walks in the departure hall at the Hong Kong International Airport amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Hong Kong, China, March 21, 2022. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

March 27, 2022

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong said on Sunday it is shortening the ban on airlines that are found to have carried three or more passengers who test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival, as the number of local cases continues to ease from its peak.

Starting on Friday, the ban on individual airline routes will be reduced to seven days, from 14 previously, as part of its ongoing “flight suspension mechanism”, the government said in a statement.

The change came after the government said last week a ban on flights from nine countries – Canada, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Britain, the United States, France, Australia and the Philippines – would be lifted on April 1.

If there is at least one positive test and at least one case of non-compliance with pre-departure testing on any single flight, the airline will also be suspended from flying the route for seven days.

Hong Kong reported 8,841 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, down from 10,405 on Friday, as its latest wave of infections continues to ease.

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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