Hong Kong suspends Air India flights after passengers test COVID positive

The Air India flights have been barred from entering Hong Kong for the fourth time since April due to the pandemic

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Air India flights have been barred from entering Hong Kong for the fourth time since April. Representational image: PTI

The Hong Kong administration has banned Mumbai-Hong Kong Air India flights till November 10 after a few passengers on a flight tested positive for COVID-19 post-arrival.

The Air India flights have been barred from entering Hong Kong for the fourth time since April. Earlier, the Air India flights from Delhi-Hong Kong were barred from September 20-October 3 and August 18-August 31 and October 17-October 30.

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Hong Kong government rules make it mandatory for passengers arriving in Hong Kong to carry a COVID-19 negative test report within 72 hours prior to the journey. Moreover, all international passengers are required to undergo a post-flight COVID-19 test at the Hong Kong airport.

The pre-flight COVID-19 negative certificate is mandatory for all passengers coming from India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, France, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, the UK and the US, as per the Hong Kong administration rules.

The airline operator, from any of the above mentioned countries, operating a flight to Hong Kong has to submit a form before departure, stating that all passengers onboard have COVID-19 negative certificates.

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“A few passengers who travelled on Air India’s Mumbai-Hong Kong flight earlier this week tested positive for COVID-19 post-arrival at Hong Kong,” the senior government official said.

In India, international passenger flights continue to remain suspended since March 23. An exception has been made for Indian Airlines, allowing the carrier to operate special international flights under the Vande Bharat Mission since May this year and under the bilateral air bubble pacts since July this year.

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 18 countries.

Last week, the Centre decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas, except electronic, tourist and medical categories, almost eight months after their suspension following the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent imposition of a nationwide lockdown.

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