Hong Kong bans flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines for 2 weeks

The three countries would be classified as "extremely high risk"

  
Passengers wear face masks as they board Hong Kong Airline's Embrace "Home" Kong "flight to nowhere" experience, at Hong Kong International Airport, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Hong Kong, China October 24 2020.

Passengers wear face masks as they board Hong Kong Airline's Embrace "Home" Kong "flight to nowhere" experience, at Hong Kong International Airport, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Hong Kong, China October 24 2020.

Reuters/Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG: Hong Kong will suspend flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines from April 20 for two weeks after the N501Y mutant COVID-19 strain was detected in the Asian financial hub for the first time, authorities said in a statement late on Sunday.

The three countries would be classified as "extremely high risk" after there had been multiple imported cases carrying the strain into Hong Kong in the past 14 days, the government said.

The city reported 30 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, 29 of which were imported, marking the highest daily toll since March 15. Hong Kong has recorded over 11,600 cases in total and 209 deaths.

Hong Kong authorities have been urging residents to get vaccinated for coronavirus with only around 9% of Hong Kong's 7.5 million residents vaccinated so far.

The government last week widened the city's vaccine scheme to include those aged between 16 to 29 years old for the first time, as they aim to boost lacklustre demand for inoculations amongst residents. 

Airlines impacted by Hong Kong's ban on travellers from India, Pakistan and the Philippines include carriers such as Cathay Pacific 0293.HK , Hong Kong Airlines, Vistara and Cebu Pacific.

(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Michael Perry) ((farah.master@thomsonreuters.com; +852 3462 7709;))

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