Advertisement

‘Extremely high risk’: Hong Kong bans passenger flights from U.K. over Delta variant

Click to play video: 'Britain on track to lift COVID-19 restrictions July 19, Johnson says' Britain on track to lift COVID-19 restrictions July 19, Johnson says
WATCH: Britain on track to lift COVID-19 restrictions July 19, Johnson says – Jun 29, 2021

Hong Kong says it will ban all passenger flights from the U.K. starting Thursday as it seeks to curb the spread of new variants of the coronavirus.

It said in a statement Monday that the U.K. has been classified as “extremely high risk“ because of the “recent rebound of the epidemic situation in the U.K. and the widespread delta variant virus strain there.”

Under the classification, people who have stayed in the U.K. for more than two hours will be restricted from boarding passenger flights to Hong Kong.

Click to play video: 'U.K. delays reopening plans as cases of Delta variant surge' U.K. delays reopening plans as cases of Delta variant surge
U.K. delays reopening plans as cases of Delta variant surge – Jun 14, 2021

Read more: U.K. records highest daily COVID-19 cases in months amid Delta variant surge

Story continues below advertisement

It is the second time that the Hong Kong government has banned flights from the U.K., following a restriction imposed last December.

The ban comes amid heightened tensions between the U.K. and China over semi-autonomous Hong Kong, which was a British colony until it was handed over to China in 1997.

The U.K. has criticized China for imposing a national security law on Hong Kong and tightening control over its media, saying Beijing is undermining the city’s autonomy.

Click to play video: 'U.K.’s Johnson ‘very confident’ about lifting COVID-19 restrictions on July 19' U.K.’s Johnson ‘very confident’ about lifting COVID-19 restrictions on July 19
U.K.’s Johnson ‘very confident’ about lifting COVID-19 restrictions on July 19 – Jun 18, 2021

The flight ban was triggered by a policy put in place by the government to prevent coronavirus variants from spreading in Hong Kong.

A suspension of passenger flights is imposed if five or more passengers arriving from one place test positive on arrival for a particular coronavirus variant, or a relevant virus mutation within a seven-day period.

Story continues below advertisement

A ban is is also triggered if 10 or more passengers from one place are confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus via any tests, including tests conducted during quarantine, within a seven-day period.

The U.K. reported 14,876 people tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, as it saw a recent surge in infections. It has confirmed over 4 million cases since the pandemic began.

Read more: U.K. changes its vaccine strategy to combat COVID-19 Delta variant. Should Canada follow?

Hong Kong, which for months imposed a 21-day quarantine for arrivals from most countries and implemented strict social-distancing regulations, reported three new cases of the coronavirus on Monday. It has confirmed a total of 11,921 cases since the pandemic began.

The U.K. flight ban comes as Hong Kong is looking to relax quarantine measures for most other countries, including the U.S. and Canada.

Several other countries, including the Philippines and Indonesia, also face flight bans to Hong Kong.

Sponsored content