Visa Crunch

Hong Kong Bans International Flights From 8 Nations, International Students Affected

According to AFP, Hong Kong has placed a two-week restriction on flights to Hong Kong International Airport from eight countries.

All the arriving flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States will be barred entrance beginning Saturday at midnight. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, stated that health officials are now concerned that the contagious Omicron variety is silently spreading throughout the population.

“We have cases that have their sources identified but not the route of transmission,” she told reporters.

According to Bloomberg, around 150 nations and territories labelled as high-risk will be prohibited from passing through Hong Kong International Airport from January 15, 2022, to February 14, 2022, however, the end date will be reviewed.

The prohibition is just another attempt by the special administrative region to protect itself from the new variation.

According to Bloomberg, officials from Hong Kong International Airport have been briefed about the new update. Although, the specifics of how the prohibition will be implemented have yet to be determined.

Transit prohibitions at Hong Kong International Airport are expected to affect international students as well. As per Bloomberg, Hong Kong has long been considered as a bustling transit centre for transits from mainland China, Taiwan, and various other regions in the region, as well as long hauls such as the US and the UK.

Incoming passengers scheduled to arrive at Hong Kong International Airport today include those from Beijing, Singapore, Dhaka, Osaka, and Ho Chi Minh City, according to information on the airport’s website.

Flights to London, Tokyo, Auckland, Chicago, Sydney, Manila, Dubai, and Kolkata, among others, are planned to depart or have already departed from the airport. After the Omicron strain was confirmed in the city, Hong Kong implemented tough new anti-coronavirus measures and restrictions.

In addition to prohibiting flights from eight countries, they are closing pubs and gyms and cancelling night-time restaurant eating. Hong Kong, like mainland China, has sustained some of the world’s strictest restrictions all throughout the pandemic, and its rigorous border rules come as no surprise given its zero-Covid-19 policy, along with the weeks-long quarantines, targeted lockdowns, and mass testing.

As of Tuesday evening, the city has confirmed 114 Omicron cases, the great majority of which were identified at the airport or during the mandated 21-day hotel quarantine for most visitors.

Bloomberg expects that as the new variant spreads, inbound travellers from “Group A” locations (or designated high-risk countries) will be impacted by Hong Kong International Airport’s planned statement.

Group A countries include Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Palestine, Pakistan, The Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Uganda, the UK, the US, and Vietnam.

Overseas students with planned layovers in Hong Kong should stay informed by signing up for their particular airline’s text or email notifications for flight developments and announcements.

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