Covid-19: Hong Kong bans Air India flights for 5th time

Hong Kong bans Air India flights for fifth time as some passengers test Covid-19 positive

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Hong Kong has banned Air India flights from Delhi till December 3 after a few passengers on its flight earlier this week tested positive for Covid-19 post-arrival, a senior government official said on Friday.

This is the fifth time Air India's flights from India have been banned by the Hong Kong government for bringing passengers who tested positive for the viral infection after arrival.

The previous bans on the airline's Delhi-Hong Kong flights were from August 18 to August 31, September 20 to October 3 and October 17 to October 30, and on its Mumbai-Hong Kong flights during October 28-November 10.

Passengers from India can arrive in Hong Kong only if they have a Covid-19 negative certificate from a test done within 72 hours prior to the journey, according to rules issued by the Hong Kong government in July.

Moreover, all international passengers are required to undergo a post-flight Covid-19 test at the Hong Kong airport.

Besides India, a pre-flight Covid-19 negative certificate is mandatory for all passengers from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, France, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, the UK and the US, according to the Hong Kong government's rules.

An airline operating a flight to Hong Kong from these countries has to submit a form before departure, stating that all passengers onboard have Covid-19 negative certificates.

"A few passengers on a Delhi-Hong Kong flight of Air India earlier this week tested positive for Covid-19 post-arrival," the senior government official noted.

"Consequently, the airline's Delhi-Hong Kong flights have been banned till December 3," the official added.

Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 due to the pandemic.

However, the Indian airlines have been permitted to operate special international flights under the Vande Bharat Mission since May this year and under the bilateral air bubble pacts since July.

Under a bilateral air bubble pact, the airlines of both countries can operate international flights with certain restrictions. India has formed such pacts with approximately 20 countries.