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Nearly 2 months on, ban on passenger flights from Mla-HK remains in place

14 June 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap

This OFW claims she was able to fly into HK from Manila on Saturday 

Hong Kong remains closed to all passengers coming from the Philippines, despite recent reports to the contrary.

Talks that some passengers from Manila have managed to enter Hong Kong became more intense over the weekend, when a group of Filipina domestic workers claimed they were able to fly in on Saturday after their recruitment agency received a “memo” allowing them entry.

A post by a certain J Lugo said she and three other Filipinas were able to board a flight to Hong Kong, but did not name the airline nor the flight number. The post was accompanied by a photo of two women wearing masks and face shields inside what looked like an airplane.

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Her caption read: “Bye 4 now Pinas, see you after 2 years.”

In a chat, she told another Hong Kong-bound worker that she and her friends were already at Kerry Hotel for their 21-day quarantine. Quite tellingly, she said there were two of them in a room, something that is not allowed for arriving foreign domestic helpers.

Lugo also told her fellow OFW to ask her agency if it didn’t get the same memo sent to their recruiter which allowed her and her friends to board a flight to Hong Kong.


It was all a hoax, obviously, as Hong Kong’s online advisories still say that no passengers from any of the “extremely high risk” places listed as the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Nepal, South Africa and Brazil are allowed to board a flight to the city.

HK government advisory on passenger flight ban on Philippines

In fact, even transit passengers who stayed in any of the named places for two hours or more will be barred from boarding a Hong Kong-bound flight.

The advisory in the government’s dedicated website for all coronavirus-related matters states:

“All persons who have stayed in Group A1 (extremely high risk) specified places for more than two hours during the relevant period (the day of boarding for/arrival at Hong Kong or during the 21 days before that day) will not be allowed to board for Hong Kong.”

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The same advisory is posted on the website of some airlines like Cathay Pacific which simply states that any passengers who have been in the six extremely high risk places “for more than two hours in the past 21 days will not be permitted to enter Hong Kong”.

But the confusion grew when a number of OFWs desperate to take up their jobs in Hong Kong were told in a WhatsApp chat with someone handling the Consulate hotline that “hindi sarado ang Hong Kong.”(Hong Kong is not closed).

The Consulate staff even said, “Saan po ninyo nabasa or nakita na ban (sic) ang Pilipinas sa HK?” (Where did you read or see that the Philippines is banned in Hong Kong?) Told that the information came from news outlets in Hong Kong, the staff said, “Baka hindi na po yun updated.” (That’s probably not updated).

Another worker, RM, got the same reply. “Saan po ninyo nakuha na may banned galing Pinas to HK? Paki check po sa airlines ang status ng mga flights?” (Where did you get the information that there is a ban on flights from the Philippines to Hong Kong? Please check the flight status).

Told about the misinformation, Consul General Raly Tejada said the Consulate would issue a clear advisory on the issue.

The confusion appears to have been caused by the mistaken notion that all flights from Manila to Hong Kong have been stopped. That is not entirely true because airlines still fly in from Manila, but they only carry cargo, and not passengers. They are only allowed to take in passengers on their return trip.

This explains why hundreds of people from Hong Kong are able to fly to the Philippines, but no one from there, save for a handful of seafarers who are allowed to enter through a third country, are able to come into the city.

PCG's advisory posted on Apr 19 clearly states the ban 

The ban on passenger flights from the six specified countries was imposed by Hong Kong starting Apr 20, after several people in the community were found to carry a coronavirus variant that was subsequently linked to an Indian returnee whose infection was not detected during his 21-day quarantine.

Originally meant to last for only two weeks, the ban was extended indefinitely after more variant carriers were found inside Hong Kong, but who were subsequently found to have caught the virus in their quarantine hotel.

The extended ban has added to the misery to thousands of Filipino workers who have been waiting for months to come to Hong Kong. Day in and day out, they ask if there is any new information on the ban, with many saying they had incurred a lot of debts just to secure the job that has suddenly looked out of reach.

A few say they had themselves vaccinated, hoping this would give them a better chance of being allowed in, and were dismayed when told that even this would not work, given Hong Kong’s all-out effort to achieve zero infection.

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