Hong Kong introduced strict new anti-coronavirus controls on Wednesday, banning flights from eight nations, shuttering bars and gymnasiums and cancelling night restaurant eating after the Omicron variant was detected inside the metropolis.
The restrictions are the most recent financial blow to a global enterprise hub pursuing a zero-Covid technique that has saved instances low however left residents minimize off from the remainder of the world.
Like mainland China, Hong Kong has maintained a number of the world’s harshest measures all through the pandemic — together with just about closed borders, weeks-long quarantines, focused lockdowns and mass testing.
The town has recorded 114 Omicron instances as of Tuesday night, with the overwhelming majority recognized on the airport or through the 21-day resort quarantine that’s obligatory for many arrivals.
However a small group outbreak traced to Cathay Pacific airline employees in latest days has sparked the imposition of powerful new measures.
Chief government Carrie Lam mentioned well being officers now worry the contagious Omicron variant was silently spreading inside the group.
“We have now instances which have their sources recognized however not the route of transmission,” she informed reporters.
Flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, UK and US will likely be banned from midnight on Friday for the following two weeks.
“Passenger flights from these nations won’t be allowed to land in Hong Kong and people who’ve stayed in these nations will not be allowed to board flights to Hong Kong, together with transit flights,” Lam mentioned.
All giant scale public occasions could be cancelled whereas over a dozen forms of companies, together with bars, nightclubs, gyms, and wonder parlours, must shut.
Eating inside eating places will likely be banned after 6:00 pm, Lam added, though they will proceed to serve takeout.
Hong Kong has bounced between heavy and light-weight restrictions all through the pandemic together with obligatory mask-wearing, limits on greater than 4 individuals gathering in public and restaurant eating quotas even in periods when no native instances have been detected for weeks at a time.
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