The battle against Covid heads to the skies.
Canadians and immigrants traveling to China and other parts of Asia will not be allowed to transit through Hong Kong from January 15. Air passengers from so-called Group A, and 150 designated high-risk countries, are set to be banned from transiting through Hong Kong International Airport, in the country’s aggressive effort to shield itself from omicron.
Airport officials recently briefed carriers about the plan, The suspension will start on Jan. 15 and run through Feb. 14, though the end date will be subject to review. Procedures for how the ban will operate are still to be worked out but will be finalized before the ban takes effect.
While traffic volumes are thin now due to the pandemic, the move is likely to disproportionately affect Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., the city’s flagship carrier that handles the vast majority of passenger transfers. Prior to Covid, Hong Kong was a busy hub for transits from mainland China, Taiwan and several other areas in the region, as well as long hauls such as the U.S. and U.K.
Hong Kong lockdown dilemma
There are around 150 countries and territories in Hong Kong’s Group A list, including the eight nations that have specific route flight bans in place due to Covid cases on board. Those eight are Australia, Canada, France, India, the Philippines, Pakistan, the U.K. and the U.S.((Bloomberg))