Hong Kong will again admit international flights from nine countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, next April, the head of the local government, Carrie Lam, announced on Monday (21.03.2022).
Lam said the list includes Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Australia.
Following the appearance of the highly transmissible Omicron variant in January, authorities quickly instituted flight bans from eight countries considered high-risk – including the United States, Britain, France and India – and in February added a ninth, Nepal.
But infections rose rapidly in the financial hub despite tightening social distancing measures, and in three months Hong Kong recorded more than a million cases and 5,600 deaths.
The Lam administration has come under fire for its handling of the COVID-19 crisis, for issuing unclear messages about proposed mass testing and lockdown measures.
Fear of being caught in a sudden lockdown fueled panic, causing residents to bare supermarket shelves, and triggered a record exodus of residents, both foreign and local.
In mid-March, Hong Kong saw a net outflow of more than 134,000 people from the city.
gs (afp, Reuters)