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 around the globe. This ban was set to start this previous Sunday January 9th and is predicted to proceed at the very least till January 21st.
Cathay Pacific, the flag service 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 widespread for enterprise vacationers because of the 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 dwelling 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 completely 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 every other restrictions the 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 a number of the most closely trafficked flights going out and in of the 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 optimistic.
As of now, there are solely a handful of group infections inside Hong Kong attributable to 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 are going to ban air passengers from ALL Group A international locations — (these designated as “high-risk”) from TRANSITING by way of Hong Kong International Airport. An analogous passenger transit ban occurred in March 2020 early within the pandemic, however regularly 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 assessment. There are 150 completely different international locations which might be at the moment being categorized as “high-risk”, leaving many passengers scrambling to rebook their flights and alter their plans.
Such widespread vacationer locations as Vietnam, Cambodia or Thailand that are at the moment 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 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 best choice for journey all through the area. Singapore is at the moment the 18th busiest airport on the earth, flying to varied and unique locations. As of now, Singapore is permitting any passenger to transit by way of the favored airport, so long as they take a look at unfavourable 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 in the end your accountability. Contact your consulate and/or native authorities to substantiate your nationality’s entry and/or any adjustments to journey necessities earlier than touring. Travel Off Path doesn’t endorse touring towards authorities advisories