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Hong Kong to ban 'high risk' transit passengers

Hong Kong International Airport is to suspend transit for passengers from 'high risk' areas.

Reports from Bloomberg News published today suggest that Hong Kong will ban 'high risk' transit passengers, or those from so-called 'Group A' places, from travelling through Hong Kong International Airport.

The Hong Kong government is currently battling to contain a threatened fifth wave of coronavirus infections as the omicron variant makes in-roads into the territory and also announced today that primary schools and kindergartens will close in the lead-up to the Lunar New Year.

Last week, passenger flights were banned from eight countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Canada, India, Pakistan and the Philippines.

According to the Bloomberg report, this latest flight suspension will start on January 15 and run until February 14 and will effectively forbid travellers from around 150 countries from transiting through Hong Kong. As well as the eight banned nations, further countries in the Group A listing include Singapore and much of Europe.

However, the transit suspension will not apply to diplomats, government officials and athletes and staff competing at the Beijing Winter Olympics, said the Bloomberg report.

Earlier this week a number of government officials who attended a birthday party that emerged as a coronavirus cluster were released early from the city’s notorious Penny’s Bay government quarantine centre on Lantau Island. Two people at the party tested positive, leading to around 180 party-goers being sent to the quarantine facility as close contacts. However, it was later revealed that one of the cases was a false positive.

Despite this, Hong Kong health officials fear there are a number of omicron transmission chains in the community as well as hidden clusters. Earlier today a member of staff at Penny’s Bay was confirmed as carrying the virus.

The question now is whether chief executive Carrie Lam will be able to maintain her punishing zero-Covid policy.

More information on Hong Kong entry requirements and country listings can be found online.

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