Hong Kong hopes to ‘resolve’ COVID flight-ban rule as cases ease

HONG KONG (Reuters) -Hong Kong is trying to resolve an issue over a ban on airways which herald COVID-positive passengers because it eases journey curbs which have sealed off town for 2 years, its chief stated on Wednesday.

The federal government stated this week a ban on flights from 9 international locations – Canada, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Britain, america, France, Australia and the Philippines – can be lifted on April 1 but it surely was not clear if airways would face a two-week ban if they carry in contaminated folks, as is at present the case.

Many residents haven’t been capable of return to the Chinese language-ruled metropolis due to a scarcity of obligatory quarantine inns and metropolis chief Carrie Lam prompt in a media briefing extra space can be offered.

However an equally urgent challenge for a lot of has been the rule that bans an airline from flying to town for 14 days if it carries a number of individuals who check constructive for the coronavirus upon arrival.

The town’s flagship provider, Cathay Pacific, stated on Tuesday it might solely function one flight each two weeks from well-liked locations together with america and Britain due to the rule, compounding a sense of isolation that many annoyed residents really feel.

Lam, requested what the federal government would possibly do in regards to the rule and if there was any probability it could possibly be scrapped, stated: “I can solely say that we all know the issue, and we’re trying on how we might resolve this with out compromising our border management measures.”

Well being authorities reported 12,240 new COVID-19 circumstances on Wednesday, down from 14,152 yesterday, and 205 new deaths.

Hong Kong’s “dynamic zero” coronavirus technique, which goals to stamp out outbreaks as they happen with contact tracing, testing and isolation, largely protected it from the virus till the start of this yr.

However the Omicron variant has breached the defences, surging by means of town of seven.4 million folks over current weeks, killing giant numbers of aged who declined to get vaccinated, many due to concern of side-effects and the assumption Hong Kong had dodged the worst.

Because the pandemic started in 2020, Hong Kong has recorded greater than 1 million infections and greater than 6,300 deaths – most of them up to now month.

Densely populated Hong Kong has registered probably the most deaths per million folks globally in current weeks.

(Reporting by Farah Grasp, Donny Kwok, Twinnie Siu, Jessie Pang and Anne Marie Roantree; Modifying by Nick Macfie)

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