Hong Kong suspended flights from three airlines Monday, bringing its bans this year to 100 as the city continues to impose onerous Covid travel restrictions while the rest of the world beyond China has removed curbs and allows much freer entry.
Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways and Thai Airways International Pcl were the latest to fall foul of rules that punish airlines for carrying passengers infected with Covid. Bans are triggered if either 5% or five or more people on a flight test positive on arrival. Bans and fines are also handed out if passengers have improper paperwork.
The flight suspensions come even as Hong Kong slowly loosens its quarantine rules, which have deterred many people from traveling out of the hub for more than two years. The city’s new Chief Executive John Lee said in a television interview Sunday that the quarantine policy for international arrivals could be adjusted.
The flight bans, which last five days, are yet another burden and concern for travelers already tasked with finding hotel rooms for quarantine and lining up Covid tests to get back into the city. If a flight is banned, then carefully crafted hotel bookings fall through.
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