With the rise within the Omicron variant, Hong Kong introduced final week that there might be a two week lengthy ban on all flights departing from the United States, in addition to from SEVEN different international locations all over the world. This ban was set to start this previous Sunday January 9th and is predicted to proceed at the least till January 21st.
Cathay Pacific, the flag provider for Hong Kong, sometimes runs seven direct routes from the U.S. all year long – from cities reminiscent of San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, Newark, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston. These routes are sometimes frequented by pleasure seekers, in addition to being in style for enterprise vacationers as a result of metropolis’s fame for financial and monetary dealings. With the latest suspension of those flights, many passengers who had been hoping to transit and even locals returning residence to this cosmopolitan metropolis, might 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 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 international locations 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 optimistic.
As of now, there are solely a handful of neighborhood infections inside Hong Kong as a result of neighborhood 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 are going to ban air passengers from ALL Group A international locations — (these designated as “high-risk”) from TRANSITING by means of Hong Kong International Airport. An analogous passenger transit ban occurred in March 2020 early within the pandemic, however progressively 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 evaluate. There are 150 totally different international locations which are at the moment being categorized as “high-risk”, leaving many passengers scrambling to rebook their flights and alter their plans.
Such in style vacationer locations as Vietnam, Cambodia or Thailand that are at the moment open to vacationers, may 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 reminiscent of 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 most suitable choice for journey all through the area. Singapore is at the moment the 18th busiest airport on the planet, flying to varied and unique locations. As of now, Singapore is permitting any passenger to transit by means of 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 in the end your duty. Contact your consulate and/or native authorities to substantiate your nationality’s entry and/or any modifications to journey necessities earlier than touring. Travel Off Path doesn’t endorse touring in opposition to authorities advisories