Hong Kong bans some flights, including from Australia, tightens COVID-19 curbs

Hong Kong: Flights from eight countries, including Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, have been banned from entering Hong Kong for two weeks from this Friday.

Hong Kong also tightened restrictions on Wednesday as authorities feared a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections.

Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam has banned flights from some countries and tightened restrictions as Omicron threatens to take over.

Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam has banned flights from some countries and tightened restrictions as Omicron threatens to take over.Credit:AP

The restrictions were announced as health authorities searched the city to find the contacts of a COVID-19 patient, some of whom had been aboard a Royal Caribbean ship ordered to interrupt its “cruise to nowhere” and return to port.

Incoming flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the United States, including exchanges, will be banned from January 8 to January 21, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam told reporters.

Lam said the government would ban indoor dining after 6 p.m. 18:00 from Friday and close swimming pools, sports centers, bars and clubs, museums and other venues for at least two weeks. Future cruise trips would be canceled.

“We have not seen a fifth wave yet, but we are on the verge,” Lam said.

Hong Kong registered 38 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, but only one was a community transfer, while the rest were people who had returned to the city and tested positive during quarantine.

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The global financial hub has stuck to a zero-tolerance strategy by largely isolating itself from the world and enforcing a draconian and expensive quarantine regime.

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