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Hong Kong Bans Flights From India, 7 Different Nations, Ramps Up Covid Curbs


Town has recorded 114 Omicron circumstances as of Tuesday night (Representational)

Hong Kong:

Hong Kong introduced strict new anti-coronavirus controls on Wednesday, banning flights from eight nations, shuttering bars and gymnasiums and cancelling night restaurant eating after the Omicron variant was detected throughout the metropolis.

The restrictions are the newest financial blow to a world enterprise hub pursuing a zero-Covid technique that has stored circumstances low however left residents lower off from the remainder of the world.

Like mainland China, Hong Kong has maintained a few of the world’s harshest measures all through the pandemic — together with just about closed borders, weeks-long quarantines, focused lockdowns and mass testing.

Town has recorded 114 Omicron circumstances as of Tuesday night, with the overwhelming majority recognized on the airport or throughout the 21-day resort quarantine that’s obligatory for many arrivals.

However a small neighborhood outbreak traced to Cathay Pacific airline employees in latest days has sparked the imposition of powerful new measures.

Chief government Carrie Lam mentioned well being officers now worry the contagious variant was silently spreading throughout the neighborhood.

“We now have circumstances which have their sources recognized however not the route of transmission,” she instructed reporters.

Flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, UK and US will likely be banned from midnight on Saturday for 2 weeks.

– Enterprise restrictions –

All large-scale public occasions will likely be cancelled whereas from Friday over a dozen varieties of companies, together with bars, nightclubs, gyms, and sweetness parlours, should shut.

Eating inside eating places will likely be banned after 6:00 pm.

All cruises have additionally been cancelled — on Wednesday a ship carrying 3,700 passengers and crew returned to port for mass testing after 9 folks have been traced as shut contacts of an Omicron case.

Hong Kong has bounced between heavy and lightweight social distancing restrictions all through the pandemic.

Obligatory mask-wearing, limits on greater than 4 folks gathering in public and restaurant quotas have remained even in periods when no native circumstances have been detected for weeks at a time.

The restrictions have hammered the vacationer and bar sectors and left worldwide companies struggling to retain and recruit expertise.

The catering sector had a torrid 2020 however largely bounced again final 12 months as residents flocked to native eating places and resorts.

Hong Kong’s strict guidelines have stored town enviably freed from the virus, with simply over 12,000 circumstances and 213 deaths because the pandemic started.

Lam has mentioned that resuming journey routes with mainland China should come earlier than reopening to the remainder of the world.

However there was little concrete progress on that entrance and the newest outbreak has as soon as once more prompted a setback.

Hong Kong’s capacity to reopen has additionally been hampered by poor vaccine takeup.

Regardless of ample provides, solely 70 p.c of Hong Kongers have chosen to have two doses and the charges among the many aged — the demographic almost certainly to die within the occasion of an outbreak — is much decrease.

(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by IHNS employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)

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