Hong Kong bans flights from US, other countries for two weeks


Hong Kong has banned international flights from the U.S. and seven other countries for two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise exponentially around the world.

Flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Britain and the United States will be banned from Sunday until Jan. 21, The Associated Press reported.

Hong Kong, which has a “zero COVID” policy, recorded 114 new cases as of Tuesday, but only some local community transmission, according to the news service.

The report added that most of the new omicron cases were linked to several Cathay Pacific crew members who broke isolation rules and dined at restaurants and bars in the city before testing positive.

Nine passengers onboard Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas ship were also linked to a COVID-19 infection, and officials ordered the ship to turn back for further testing. The city also held 2,500 passengers on the cruise ship for coronavirus testing Wednesday as it hopes to hold off an omicron outbreak.

“We’re yet to see a fifth wave yet, but we’re on the verge,” Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said, according to the AP.

Lam also said that indoor dining would be banned after 6 p.m. starting Friday, and bars, swimming pools, museums and other venues will be shut for at least two weeks, Reuters reported.

“We are worried there may be silent transmission chains in the community,” Lam added.

Only 68.6 percent of the total population has received two doses of a vaccine as of Dec. 23, according to government data.

All overseas arrivals must undergo 21 days of quarantine upon entering Hong Kong — even if they are fully vaccinated. 


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