With the rise within the Omicron variant, Hong Kong introduced final week that there will likely be a two week lengthy ban on all flights departing from the United States, in addition to from SEVEN different nations all over the world. This ban was set to start this previous Sunday January 9th and is anticipated to proceed at the very least till January 21st.
Cathay Pacific, the flag provider for Hong Kong, usually runs seven direct routes from the U.S. all year long – from cities equivalent to San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, Newark, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston. These routes are usually frequented by pleasure seekers, in addition to being fashionable for enterprise vacationers as a result of metropolis’s status for financial and monetary dealings. With the latest suspension of those flights, many passengers who have been hoping to transit and even locals returning residence to this cosmopolitan metropolis, might discover themselves caught – at the very least for the approaching weeks.
This two week ban on passenger flights isn’t just solely for the United States, it additionally contains Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom. In saying these new measures, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam described the brand new restrictions as “decisive and comprehensive” — greater than some other restrictions 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 instances. Currently, the routes from these eight nations are among the most closely trafficked flights going out and in of town of Hong Kong.
These measures come as new Omicron clusters have emerged over the previous week throughout 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 result of group unfold, however the extreme new restrictions are additionally a direct results of the low vaccination charges, significantly 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 nations — (these designated as “high-risk”) from TRANSITING by means of Hong Kong International Airport. An identical passenger transit ban occurred in March 2020 early within the pandemic, however steadily resumed within the subsequent months (other than mainland China).
This transit suspension will start on January 15th and run at the very least till February 14th, though the dates are topic to evaluation. There are 150 completely different nations which can be presently being categorized as “high-risk”, leaving many passengers scrambling to rebook their flights and alter their plans.
Such fashionable vacationer locations as Vietnam, Cambodia or Thailand that are presently open to vacationers, might even see a drop in vacationers as a result 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 equivalent to Phuket, Bangkok, and Ko Sumai. Now, if a traveler is coming from one in every of these 150 “high-risk” nations, Hong Kong will not be an possibility.
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 planet, flying to numerous and unique locations. As of now, Singapore is permitting any passenger to transit by means of the favored airport, so long as they check unfavorable 48 hours earlier than their flight.
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Disclaimer: Current journey guidelines and restrictions can change with out discover. The choice to journey is finally your accountability. Contact your consulate and/or native authorities to verify your nationality’s entry and/or any modifications to journey necessities earlier than touring. Travel Off Path doesn’t endorse touring towards authorities advisories