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HK lifts flight ban on UK, keeps it for Philippines & 5 others

05 May 2021

By The SUN

Flights from UK & Ireland which have been suspended since Dec will resume on Friday

Hong Kong has announced that it will lift the flight ban on the United Kingdom and Ireland on Friday, May 7, on condition “that there be no significant change to the epidemic situation locally and in these two places.”

But a similar suspension of flights from five other countries, including the Philippines, is being kept on the basis that the epidemic situation is still unstable in these places categorized as “extremely high risk.” 

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The other countries in this category are India, Pakistan, Nepal, Brazil and South Africa.

The decision was announced in a government statement released late on Tuesday.

At the same time, Health Secretary Dr Sophia Chan told legislators that the government plans to shorten the quarantine period for fully vaccinated residents who fly back to the city. But she said details have yet to be worked out.

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The flight suspension on the Philippines, India and Pakistan was imposed on Apr 20, and was meant to last for only two weeks. But the recent discovery of locally-acquired coronavirus variants prodded Hong Kong to say that the ban would be reviewed every two weeks, and not lapse automatically.

The announcement on Apr 29 also said that Nepal was being added to the list of places considered as “extremely high risk,” and thus subject to the same flight ban.

Under this category previously were the UK, Ireland, Brazil and South Africa, places where the highly infectious variants were first found in December last year.


Hong Kong said it was allowing residents who had been waiting to go back home from the UK and Ireland to return starting on Friday, citing as reasons the “stabilizing local epidemic situation and relatively satisfactory vaccination rate” in the two countries.

“Persons returning to Hong Kong from these two places can board for flights for Hong Kong after they have obtained a negative result for a Covid-19 test with samples taken 72 hours prior to departure, as well as confirmation of a 21-night room reservation in a designated quarantine hotel,” said the statement. 

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.

On arrival in Hong Kong, all returnees will be tested at the airport and held until their test results come out. All those who test negative will be taken to designated hotels for their 21-day compulsory  quarantine, and tested at least three times during the period. They will again be tested on the 26th day of their arrival, after leaving quarantine.

Dr Chan tells Legco the quarantine period for fully vaccinated residents will be shortened

Meanwhile, under the strict boarding requirements, anybody who had stayed in any of the “extremely high risk” places for at least two hours within 21 days prior to their intended return to Hong Kong, will not be allowed to board their flight.

The restrictions were tightened further on Apr 14, when the government declared that any five cases of the mutated virus being found on arrival among passengers from the same flight within a seven-day period would trigger a ban.

This was later expanded to cover 10 or more passengers who test positive for the mutant strain within a week, whether on arrival or during quarantine.

Under Hong Kong’s adjusted grouping of places of origin, the “extremely high risk” countries are classified as Group A1 specified places. Under Group A2 are the “very high risk group” (UK and Ireland); Group B are “high risk” places; Group C are “medium risk” and Group D are “low risk.”

Travelers coming from Group D places (Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore) will only quarantine for 14 days in designated hotels, and will have to be tested at least twice during the period, and on the 19th day of their arrival in Hong Kong.

But in line with Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s unveiling of the “vaccine bubble” concept on Apr 12, the government plans to shorten the compulsory quarantine period also for persons arriving in Hong Kong who have not stayed in extremely high-risk and very high-risk places, and who have been fully vaccinated.

The government says it will announce the implementation date and details of the scheme shortly.

Details of the group of specified places and their respective boarding and compulsory quarantine requirements can be found at


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