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Air India suspended anew after 5 passengers test positive at HK airport

24 March 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap

This is the 3rd time India's flag carrier has been banned from flying to HK

Air India has been suspended from flying to Hong Kong for two weeks after five of its passengers from New Delhi tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival at the airport on Mar 22.

This was disclosed today, Mar 24, by Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection at the regular press briefing on the coronavirus situation.

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She said of the 10 new Covid-19 cases today, six were imported and five of them flew in together via Air India flight 310, and three were found to carry the highly infectious N501Y coronavirus variant. The sixth traveler came from Pakistan.

“Yes, it will stop flights,” Chuang said when asked if the two-week ban imposed on airlines that fly in with at least five infected passengers would be imposed on India's flag carrier.

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On Mar 15, the same rule was invoked when Cathay Pacific Airways flight 906 from Manila was stopped from flying to Hong Kong for 14 days after five of its passengers on board, all Filipinas, were found infected on arrival.

This is the third time that Air India has been suspended from flying in from Delhi. The first and second suspensions were meted in August and September 2020, after the airline flew in several infected passengers to Hong Kong.


This is despite Hong Kong's strict travel restrictions that mandate travelers from designated “high risk countries” like India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia and the United States to present negative  results for Covid-19 tests conducted within 72 hours before their flights.

Chuang says most of the preliminary positive cases are imported

Chuang said that of the six local cases today, only one had an unknown source. It involves a 54-year-old delivery man who had been to 10 different households during the incubation period and lives in Hung Hom.

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In some cases the patient just dropped off the goods without entering, but in others, he had gone into the house to assemble furniture.

About 10 preliminary positive cases were reported, most of them imported, said Chuang. The local cases were said to have been detected at quarantine centers and were linked to the outbreak at Ursus Fitness in Sai Ying Pun.

Hong Kong's total coronavirus cases is now 11,420, of which 212 are still being treated in 11 public hospitals and the treatment facility in North Lantau Hospital. The related death toll is 204. 


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