London flights to resume with Hong Kong


Hong Kong residents in the United Kingdom and Ireland can fly direct to Hong Kong from Friday May 7.


It's been a long wait, but London flights to Hong Kong will resume from midnight on Friday, May 7, according to Hong Kong’s health authorities. This means that Hong Kongers currently in the United Kingdom and Ireland will be able to return to the Asian city on a direct flight.


Flights from the UK were banned by Hong Kong in December following the rapid outbreak of the so-called Kent variant of Covid-19. Since this time, Hong Kong residents in the UK and Ireland have had to make their way back to Hong Kong via a 22 day ‘washout’ in a third country before being allowed re-entry into Hong Kong. Dubai, Egypt, Thailand and even Zanzibar have been used as re-entry routes due to zero or light quarantine restrictions in these places for travellers from the UK.


However, a lengthy lockdown coupled with a world-beating vaccine roll-out have quashed Covid cases in Britain to a tiny fraction of what was being recorded at the height of the outbreak in January and February. On May 3, just one new death relating to Covid-19 was recorded, compared to an average of more than 1,000 daily Covid deaths in January.


The country is now undergoing a carefully phased reopening along with an efficient and well-received vaccine campaign. So far more than 50 million doses of three approved vaccines have been administered across Britain and one quarter of all adults are now fully immunised.


But as flights re-start, quarantine restrictions remain in force for arrivals into Hong Kong with no exceptions at this stage for vaccinated travellers. Passengers from the UK must be able to show a booking confirmation for a 21-night designated hotel quarantine before boarding, along with proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure. On arrival, passengers must undergo a further test at Hong Kong Airport and more testing will be carried out on days seven, 12 and 19. Seven days of self-monitoring at home must be carried out after leaving quarantine and travellers must arrange for a final test on day 26.


Both Ireland and the United Kingdom have been downgraded by Hong Kong to Group A2 (Very High Risk) from A1 (Extremely High Risk). Flights from countries in Group A1 are banned from landing in the city. Brazil, South Africa, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Nepal remain on the Extremely High Risk list.


At this stage quarantine has been reduced for Group D countries only. They include Australia, New Zealand and Singapore; arrivals from these areas must quarantine for 14 days in a designated facility, complete a further seven days of self-monitoring at home and take a compulsory test on day 19.


More information about country groupings can be found online.


Keep up to date with all the breaking travel news for Asia Pacific, Indian Ocean and the Middle East by signing up for the weekly AFT newsletter.