With the rise within the Omicron variant, Hong Kong introduced final week that there shall be a two week lengthy ban on all flights departing from the United States, in addition to from SEVEN different international locations world wide. This ban was set to start this previous Sunday January 9th and is anticipated to proceed at the least till January 21st.
Cathay Pacific, the flag service for Hong Kong, usually runs seven direct routes from the U.S. all year long – from cities similar to San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, Newark, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston. These routes are usually frequented by pleasure seekers, in addition to being common for enterprise vacationers as a result of metropolis’s repute for financial and monetary dealings. With the current suspension of those flights, many passengers who had been hoping to transit and even locals returning dwelling to this cosmopolitan metropolis, could discover themselves caught – at the least for the approaching weeks.
This two week ban on passenger flights is not only solely for the United States, it additionally consists of Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom. In asserting these new measures, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam described the brand new restrictions as “decisive and comprehensive” — greater than some other restrictions the town as seen over the previous two years. Lam famous that the choice to cancel these flights was in response to the “drastic” enhance in imported coronavirus circumstances. Currently, the routes from these eight international locations are a number of the most closely trafficked flights going out and in of the town of Hong Kong.
These measures come as new Omicron clusters have emerged over the previous week inside the metropolis. This outbreak is linked to a number of Cathay Pacific crew members who broke isolation guidelines — eating in eating places and bars, earlier than testing constructive.
As of now, there are solely a handful of group infections inside Hong Kong as a consequence of group unfold, however the extreme new restrictions are additionally a direct results of the low vaccination charges, notably among the many aged — who’re solely 20% vaccinated.
Ban on Transit Passengers
Hong Kong additionally introduced yesterday that they may ban air passengers from ALL Group A international locations — (these designated as “high-risk”) from TRANSITING via Hong Kong International Airport. The same passenger transit ban occurred in March 2020 early within the pandemic, however regularly resumed within the subsequent months (aside from mainland China).
This transit suspension will start on January 15th and run at the least till February 14th, though the dates are topic to overview. There are 150 totally different international locations which might be presently being categorized as “high-risk”, leaving many passengers scrambling to rebook their flights and alter their plans.
Such common vacationer locations as Vietnam, Cambodia or Thailand that are presently open to vacationers, may even see a drop in vacationers as a consequence of these new transit restrictions. This comes simply as Thailand introduced extra additions to their Sandbox program this previous week, to locations Krabi, Phang Nga, and Koh Samui. Hong Kong International Airport serves 5 cities in Thailand, with dozens of flights a day to locations similar to Phuket, Bangkok, and Ko Sumai. Now, if a traveler is coming from considered one of these 150 “high-risk” international locations, Hong Kong will not be an choice.
Another Option For Travelers
Not all is misplaced for Asian journey. Singapore Changi Airport could also be the best choice for journey all through the area. Singapore is presently the 18th busiest airport on the earth, flying to numerous and unique locations. As of now, Singapore is permitting any passenger to transit via the favored airport, so long as they take a look at destructive 48 hours earlier than their flight.
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Disclaimer: Current journey guidelines and restrictions can change with out discover. The resolution to journey is finally your duty. Contact your consulate and/or native authorities to verify your nationality’s entry and/or any adjustments to journey necessities earlier than touring. Travel Off Path doesn’t endorse touring in opposition to authorities advisories