Starting from April 20, 2021, Hong Kong has imposed a 14-day travel ban on flights from India, Pakistan, and the Philippines following a recent surge in cases pertaining to a new N501Y strain of the COVID-19 virus. This government action was incited by the increase in new confirmed cases in the community mainly introduced through incoming flights.

India, Pakistan, and the Philippines are now designated as “extremely high risk” countries under Hong Kong’s stringent COVID regulations.

According to the South China Morning Post, a total of 30 new COVID cases were confirmed on April 18, 2021. 29 of those cases were a result of incoming flights. Earlier in the month, a Vistara flight from Delhi carried 47 passengers who tested positive for the coronavirus further adding to the recent surge in cases which saw Health officials deploy another ban on Vistara routes from Mumbai and Cathay Pacific Manila flights.

According to officials, 223 cases involving the new strain of the coronavirus have been recorded in Hong Kong all from arriving passengers. However, on April 16, the first local case of the new strain was recorded in a 31-year-old woman with no recent travel history. Tracing shows that she is a friend of the first man found to be carrying the new variant, who is an engineer and had returned back to Hong Kong from Dubai on March 19 and undergone quarantine until April 9.

To reduce any additional infection possibilities, a total of 80 residents from the woman’s building have been ordered to undergo quarantine for 21 days 

Furthermore, due to emergency measures, the passengers from India, Pakistan, and the Philippines who are already in quarantine will undergo another test on their 26th day in the city. This is in line with Hong Kong’s entry requirements which are among the strictest quarantine regulations in the world.