The Hong Kong airport will ban, from Sunday (16), the stopovers of passengers from more than 150 countries to prevent the entry of the coronavirus in this international business center – announced this Friday (14).
The suspension will be in effect for a month and will affect all countries classified as “high risk” by the authorities of this city. In line with Beijing, the local government has been applying a very cautious strategy against the covid-19 pandemic.
Since January 8, Hong Kong has already prohibited the entry into its territory of any passenger who has stayed for more than two hours, in the last 21 days, in these eight countries: Australia, Canada, United States, France, India, Pakistan, Philippines and United Kingdom.
Now, transit through Hong Kong airport will be impossible for people from all other countries considered “high risk”.
Passengers will, however, be able to enter the territory as long as they are vaccinated and undergo a 21-day quarantine in a hotel.
This decision is yet another setback for Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific, which has already drastically reduced its flights since the global health crisis began.
Many other companies have also restricted their flights to this city, due to the long quarantines imposed on passengers and crew.
The ban could have an impact on preparations for the Beijing Winter Olympics, as many sports delegations planned to stop in Hong Kong to travel to the Chinese capital. The Games take place from the 4th to the 20th of February.
Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg news agency had reported this week that the traffic ban at this airport would not apply to athletes, diplomats and other members of official delegations to the Olympic Games.
The statement released this Friday by the airport authorities does not, however, mention any exception. When contacted by AFP, an airport spokesperson declined to clarify the matter.
Like mainland China, Hong Kong is one of the last places in the world to adhere to the “zero covid” strategy. It consists of preventing, at all costs, the spread of the coronavirus in the territory, following a draconian policy of isolating the sick and their contacts.
This strategy has allowed the city of 7.5 million to register just over 12,000 cases and only 213 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, but at a high price of the international isolation of this great global financial center.