With the rise within the Omicron variant, Hong Kong introduced final week that there can 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 anticipated to proceed at the very 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 akin to San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, Newark, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston. These routes are sometimes frequented by pleasure seekers, in addition to being fashionable for enterprise vacationers because of the metropolis’s repute for financial and monetary dealings. With the latest suspension of those flights, many passengers who had been hoping to transit and even locals returning dwelling to this cosmopolitan metropolis, could 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 asserting these new measures, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam described the brand new restrictions as “decisive and comprehensive” — greater than another restrictions town as seen over the previous two years. Lam famous that the choice to cancel these flights was in response to the “drastic” improve in imported coronavirus instances. Currently, the routes from these eight international locations are a number of 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 inside 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 neighborhood infections inside Hong Kong attributable to neighborhood unfold, however the extreme new restrictions are additionally a direct results of the low vaccination charges, notably 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 via Hong Kong International Airport. An identical passenger transit ban occurred in March 2020 early within the pandemic, however regularly resumed within the subsequent months (aside from 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 evaluate. There are 150 completely different international locations which can be at present 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 at present open to vacationers, may even see a drop in vacationers attributable to 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 akin to Phuket, Bangkok, and Ko Sumai. Now, if a traveler is coming from considered one of these 150 “high-risk” international locations, Hong Kong will now 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 present the 18th busiest airport on this planet, flying to numerous and unique locations. As of now, Singapore is permitting any passenger to transit via the favored airport, so long as they take a look at detrimental 48 hours earlier than their flight.
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Disclaimer: Current journey guidelines and restrictions can change with out discover. The determination to journey is in the end your accountability. Contact your consulate and/or native authorities to verify your nationality’s entry and/or any adjustments to journey necessities earlier than touring. Travel Off Path doesn’t endorse touring in opposition to authorities advisories