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HK suspends flights from Philippines, India and Pakistan

18 April 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

The flight ban was imposed after the 3 countries were designated 'extremely high risk'

Hong Kong announced late Sunday, Apr 18, that it will stop flights from the Philippines, India and Pakistan for 14 days starting Monday midnight, in line with its “circuit breaker mechanism” under tightened travel restrictions.

At the same time, all three countries have been moved to the “extremely high risk” category, which means anyone who had stayed in these places for more than two hours in the past 21 days are prohibited from boarding a flight to Hong Kong. This is to prevent people from these countries from entering Hong Kong via transit from another place.


On top of this, travelers from “extremely high risk” places should, after completing 21 days of hotel quarantine, undergo self-monitoring for seven days, and take a fourth Covid-19 test on the 26th day after arrival in Hong Kong.

As of now, three other countries are in this category: the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, where the first mutated strains of the coronavirus were first detected.


The government statement said the decision to add the three Asian countries to this list was triggered by the case of a man who was found Saturday to have the coronavirus variant 10 days after completing his 21-day quarantine.

The Indian man who had flown in from Dubai, appeared to have infected his Hong Kong-based girlfriend who was also found to carry the variant Sunday.


As a result of the case, and “for the sake of prudence,” the government said it reviewed imported cases from the past 14 days and decided to implement the “circuit breaker” it put in place recently to stop the spread of the highly infectious variant in the community.

The study reportedly showed the N501Y variant was found in the prescribed number among new arrivals from India, Pakistan and the Philippines in the past two weeks.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Under the new restrictions that took effect on Apr 14, a total flight ban was supposed to be imposed on any place only when (1) a cumulative number of five passengers (2) are found to have the variant on arrival in Hong Kong (3) within a seven-day-period.

Since it took effect, however, the Philippines is the only place where the prescribed criteria have been met. Two arrivals from Manila were found to have the variant on arrival on Friday, another one on Saturday, and two more Sunday.

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However, far more passengers from India and Pakistan have been testing positive for Covid-19 on arrival, and a big number have been found to have both the virus and the variant while under quarantine.

Of the 29 imported cases recorded Monday, 22 had flown in from India.

More than 100,000 new Covid cases have been recorded in India in a single day

The domestic infection rate in all three countries has been surging as well, with India posting more than 100,000 cases on a single day lately. The surge has also been happening in the Philippines, where the total number of Covid-19 cases is now nearing the one-million mark.


Earlier, the government announced it was suspending Cathay Pacific Airways from flying from Manila to Hong Kong from tomorrow until May 2, after two of its flights had each carried two passengers confirmed to have Covid-19 on arrival at the airport.

Pindutin para sa detalye

The flights that carried the infected passengers arrived on Apr 14 and 17.

Similary banned for the same period was Vistara Airlines flight from Mumbai, India. According to a government press release, Vistara’s flight UK6397 which arrived Sunday had three passengers confirmed to have Covid-19 on their arrival test at the airport.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong 

Both CX 906 and UK6397 had been banned previously for the same infraction. 


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