Hong Kong bans flights from “high-risk” Britain to contain the virus | Coronavirus pandemic news
The ban came as tensions between Britain and China increased due to the semi-autonomous Hong Kong of the former British colony.
Hong Kong will ban all passenger flights from the UK starting Thursday to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
The Hong Kong government listed the UK as “very high risk” in a statement on Monday because of “the recent rebound in the UK epidemic and the widespread presence of delta mutant virus strains in the region.”
According to this classification, people who stay in the UK for more than two hours will be restricted from boarding passenger flights to Hong Kong.
The city confirmed the first local COVID case involving the Delta variant last week, ending the record of zero local cases for 16 consecutive days.
This is the second time that the Hong Kong government has banned flights from the United Kingdom after the restrictions imposed in December last year.
At the time of the ban, there was growing tension between Britain and China over the issue of semi-autonomous Hong Kong, which was a British colony until it was handed over to China in 1997.
Britain criticized China for enforcing Hong Kong’s national security laws and strengthening its media control, saying that Beijing is undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy.
The flight ban was triggered by a government policy to prevent the spread of variants of the coronavirus in Hong Kong.
If five or more passengers arriving from one place test positive for a specific coronavirus variant or related virus mutation on arrival within 7 days, passenger flights will be suspended.
A ban will also be issued if any tests (including those conducted during isolation) confirm that 10 or more passengers from one place are infected with the coronavirus within 7 days.
The UK reported that 14,876 people tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday due to the recent surge in infections. Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has confirmed more than 4 million cases.
For several months, Hong Kong has implemented a 21-day quarantine for immigrants from most countries and implemented strict social distancing regulations. Three new coronavirus cases were reported on Monday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has confirmed a total of 11,921 cases.
The British flight ban comes as Hong Kong is seeking to relax quarantine measures on most other countries, including the United States and Canada.
But several other countries, including the Philippines, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Indonesia, are also facing bans on flights to Hong Kong.