Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

‘Asia’s world city’ continues to descend to one of the most isolated urban centers on earth.

Hong Kong will suspend transit flights for a month from about 150 countries and areas considered high risk due to the coronavirus, deepening the global financial hub’s isolation.

The move comes as the city has seen about 50 cases of the fast-spreading Omicron variant since the end of last year.

Prior to the outbreak, which authorities say could be traced back to two Cathay Pacific Airways crew members, the city had no local broadcasts for more than three months.

Hong Kong International Airport said in a statement on Friday that any person who has stayed in places classified as high risk by health authorities in the 21 days before travel cannot travel through the city from January 16 to February 15.

The measure was taken “to control the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant,” it said.

Hong Kong currently classifies more than 150 countries and territories as high risk.

Zero tolerance

Last week, it banned incoming flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Britain and the United States, including exchangers.

The Chinese-controlled city followed mainland China’s policy by adopting a zero-tolerance attitude toward local COVID-19 cases, even though much of the world is moving to life with the coronavirus.

In recent weeks, the authorities have tightened quarantine restrictions on air crew and reinstated curbs on social life.

Fifteen types of venues, including pubs and clubs, cinemas, gyms and beauty salons were ordered to close, while eating in restaurants was banned after 6pm. Primary and nursery schools also closed.

The government is expected to announce later Friday that the restrictions will be extended to the new monthly holiday in early February.

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