Hong Kong has banned Air India and Vistara flights from October 17 to 30 after a couple of passengers on their flights tested positive for coronavirus upon arrival, a senior government official said on Friday.
This is the third time that Air India flights from India are banned by the Hong Kong government for bringing passengers who tested positive for the infection on arrival.
Previous bans were from September 20 to October 3 and August 18 to August 31.
Vistara’s flights are being banned for the first time by the Hong Kong government during the coronavirus pandemic.
Passengers from India can arrive in Hong Kong as long as they have a COVID negative certificate from a test done 72 hours before the journey, consistent with rules issued by the Hong Kong government in July.
Moreover, all international passengers are required to undergo a post-flight COVID-19 test at the Hong Kong airport.
“A few passengers who traveled on Delhi-Hong Kong flight of Air India and Chennai-Hong Kong flight of Vistara on Thursday tested positive for COVID-19 post-arrival,” the senior government official said.
“Consequently, the flights of these two airlines have been barred from October 17 to October 30 by the Hong Kong government,” the official added.
Besides India, a pre-flight COVID negative certificate is mandatory for all passengers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, and the US, according to the Hong Kong government’s rules.
An airline operating a flight to Hong Kong from any of these nine countries needs to submit a form before departure, stating that each one passenger onboard has COVID negative certificates.
Scheduled international passenger flights still remain suspended in India since March 23 because of the pandemic.
However, the Indian airlines are permitted to operate special international flights under the Vande Bharat mission since May this year and under the bilateral air bubble agreement since July this year.
Under a bilateral air bubble pact, the airlines of the two countries can operate international flights with certain restrictions. India has formed such pacts with approximately 17 countries.
(Source: PTI News)