HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong has suspended a rule banning separate flights to bring passengers infected with the COVID-19 virus, citing “unnecessary problems” and inconvenience to residents of financial centers around the world, the government said on Thursday. .
The city has banned more than 100 flights this year. Restrictions were a major frustration for businesses and residents were accustomed to easy and efficient travel from the former British colony. Its removal, along with scores stuck abroad due to flight bans, paves the way for many residents to return home.
“Social costs are quite high due to the circuit breaker mechanism, and this brings unnecessary problems for these international students and their families,” the government said in a statement.
Earlier, airlines were banned for five days if more than five people were infected with the coronavirus. Flights were banned for two weeks earlier this year, making it difficult for airlines to operate.
All arrivals still have to be segregated at the hotel for at least a week.
The government has said it wants to “improve” the segregation system to “facilitate the movement of people needed for social and economic recovery.”
Measures such as flight bans and mandatory hotel quarantine have hurt Hong Kong’s competitiveness, with business officials saying they hope the city’s new leader, John Lee, will repeal quarantine rules.
Leakey needs to reopen the city, eight business leaders say, because Hong Kong’s borders have been effectively sealed since 2020 and international arrivals are subject to strict quarantine and testing protocols.
(Reporting by Hong Kong Newsroom; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Muralikumar Anantraman)
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