Between January 9 and January 22, 2021, Emirates is pausing flights to Hong Kong following a directive from the Asian state.

“As per the latest authority directive in Hong Kong, customers holding tickets on flight EK384 with final destination to Hong Kong from January 9-22, 2021, will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin,” announced Emirates on its website on January 10, 2021. 

Flight EK384 departs Dubai International Airport (DXB) daily at 3:05 am local time and arrives in Hong Kong 2:20pm local time with a stopover in Bangkok, Thailand. The carrier said that “customers traveling to Bangkok as the final destination will be accepted for travel.”

During this period, passengers flying on flight EK385 and originating Hong Kong will be accepted for travel towards Dubai, outlined the airline.

Emirates has not confirmed the reason for the flight suspension. However, after a surge of new cases, Hong Kong has implemented stricter rules on airlines to control the spread of coronavirus. On January 8, 2021, The Center for Health Protection (CHP) issued a report on new cases of COVID-19 and investigated the Emirates EK384 flight, which carried three infected passengers.

“While one passenger failed to comply with requirements specified under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travelers) Regulation (Cap. 599H), the DH thus invoked the regulation to prohibit the landing of passenger flights from Dubai and Bangkok operated by Emirates in Hong Kong from January 9 to 22,” read the CHP report.

“Given that the situation of COVID-19 infection remains severe and that there is a continuous increase in the number of cases reported around the world, members of the public are strongly urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside Hong Kong,” said a spokesperson from the CHP.

Other countries in the Asia-Pacific region have also witnessed a surge of new cases. Japan’s government has suspended foreign visitors from entering the country beginning on December 28, 2020. Likewise, Myanmar's Ministry of Transport and Communications has extended the suspension of international flights until the end of January 2021. Taiwan banned foreign arrivals starting January 1, 2021, while the Philippines have restricted access for international arrivals. 

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With the surge of coronavirus cases and the new mutation discovered in the United Kingdom, countries are closing their borders to international arrivals.