19 Apr 2021

Hong Kong bans flights from India, Pakistan and Philippines for two weeks

5:34 pm on 19 April 2021

Hong Kong will suspend flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines from 20 April for two weeks after the N501Y mutant Covid-19 variant was detected in the Asian financial hub for the first time, authorities said in a statement late on Sunday local time.

Cathay Pacific Airplane docked getting ready to flight at Hong Kong International airport.

Photo: Nikita Buida / 123rf

The three countries would be classified as "extremely high risk" after there had been multiple imported cases carrying the strain into Hong Kong in the past 14 days, the government said.

The city reported 30 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, 29 of which were imported, marking the highest daily toll since 15 March.

Hong Kong has recorded over 11,600 cases in total and 209 deaths.

Authorities have been urging residents to get vaccinated for coronavirus with only about 9 percent of Hong Kong's 7.5 million residents vaccinated so far.

The government last week widened the city's vaccine scheme to include those aged between 16 to 29 years old for the first time, as they aim to boost lacklustre demand for inoculations amongst residents.

Airlines impacted by Hong Kong's ban on travellers from India, Pakistan and the Philippines include Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airlines, Vistara and Cebu Pacific.

In New Zealand, a travel ban on flights from India started on 11 April and will continue through to 28 April.

- Reuters

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