After issuing new COVID-19 travel rules over the weekend, reports are coming in that Hong Kong is extending its strict travel ban to anyone who has been in Brazil or Ireland during the past 21 days. The move follows the introduction of a ban earlier in January on flights from the United Kingdom and South Africa to stop a new, more virulent strain of the coronavirus from entering China’s Special Administrative Region.
At the time of the flight ban, the Hong Kong authorities defended their decision saying that the flight ban was imposed to protect people from more infectious mutations of the COVID-19 virus.
“The Government recognizes that the above requirement is very stringent and may inevitably affect the return journey of a number of Hong Kong residents in the UK or South Africa,” a spokesperson said.
“We simply cannot afford to relax the relevant restrictions at this juncture, lest the anti-epidemic efforts of the entire community go down the drain.”
When reporting on the new spike in cases, Bloomberg says that in a weekly news briefing early today, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said:
“This shows that we still have transmission chains across the territory,” Lam said. “So what we need to do now is join hands and curb transmissions as much as possible.”
Lam also said that the Asian financial hub would see new restrictions to help battle the rise in infections, including the ban on people entering the country from coronavirus hotspots like Ireland and Brazil. Unlike many other regions with COVID-19 travel bans, Hong Kong goes a step further by not allowing its nationals and residents to return home from countries on the travel ban list.
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