In less than six weeks, authorities have banned 24 routes.
After discovering infected passengers, Hong Kong is rushing to plug the holes that have allowed the highly infectious omicron Covid-19 variant to finally break through the city’s defences, banning five more individual airline routes, including those from Seoul, Vancouver, and Delhi.
From January 4 to January 17, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Air India Ltd., Air Canada, Thai Airways International Pcl, and Philippines AirAsia had their routes suspended, according to the government. Since the discovery of omicron in November, Hong Kong has banned the most flights in a single day.
In less than six weeks, authorities have banned 24 routes, causing holiday travel chaos.
Because it is based in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific is bearing the brunt of the Asian financial hub’s strict Covid countermeasures. Hong Kong is pursuing a Covid Zero strategy that is becoming increasingly strained as omicron spreads around the world, accounting for the majority of new infections. Since Christmas Day, the airline has had seven routes suspended, including London, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Three passengers tested positive on arrival from the South Korean capital on January 2, prompting the latest ban for Cathay Pacific’s Seoul services.