Hong Kong relaxes COVID-19 rules, dropping individual flight bans

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Hong Kong has suspended its COVID-19 rule on temporarily banning individual flights from entering the region because it caused “unnecessary trouble” and inconvenience to residents of the global financial hub, the government said on July 7, 2022. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Hong Kong has regularly banned commercial flights that contained more than 5 passengers who tested positive for COVID-19. 

The controversial policy has seen more than 100 flights banned in 2022 alone, with Qatar Airways being one of the latest airlines banned for 7 days  in June 2022.

“The social cost caused by the ‘circuit breaker mechanism’ is quite large, and it also brings unnecessary trouble to…  international students and their families,” the government said in a statement seen by local news.

Though the flight ban policy has been dropped, all flight arrivals into Hong Kong are still required to quarantine for at least a week in a hotel.

The government said it was looking to “improve” quarantine arrangements, “to facilitate the movement of people necessary for social and economic recovery”.

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