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Hong Kong will lift its ban on flights from the UK and Ireland this week, if the local situation with the coronavirus and other “relevant overseas locations” does not change, our correspondent in Taiwan, Helen Davidson reports.

The ban on inbound flights has been in place since December, when it was suddenly announced in response to the virulent strain emerging in the UK. This has left a number of Hong Kong people stranded in the UK.

Tuesday late the government has announced that it will resume flights on Friday “After examining the local epidemic situation which is stabilizing and the relatively satisfactory vaccination rate in the United Kingdom and Ireland”.

A Cathay Pacific plane lands at Hong Kong Airport. Photograph: Vernon Yuen / REX / Shutterstock

Travelers must get a negative Covid-19 test before boarding and another on arrival at Hong Kong airport, before being sent to 21-night hotel quarantine.

The government statement said:

Considering that the epidemic situation is still unstable in very high risk regions such as India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Brazil and South Africa, the Government will continue to prevent people who have stayed in these places to board a flight to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has kept its borders closed to non-residents since the start of the pandemic and has at times banned flights from particular hot spots, or suspended some airlines that brought in passengers who tested positive on arrival.

A DNA specialist told Hong Kong Today on Wednesday that the government should consider going further, imposing an Australian-style cap on the number of arrivals.

Dr Gilman Siu of the Department of Health Technology and Computer Science at Polytechnic University told local radio he was concerned about an impending travel bubble with Singapore and offered to relax quarantine measures.

“I think we should consider limiting the number of people who can return to Hong Kong, as we receive more and more imported cases, and more would be difficult for hotels to quarantine. Quarantine hotels are not hospitals. ”


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