Hong Kong: Hong Kong is rushing to plug holes that have seen the highly infectious omicron Covid-19 variant finally break through the city’s defenses, banning five more individual airline routes - including those from Seoul, Vancouver and Delhi - after discovering infected passengers.
Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., as well as Air India Ltd., Air Canada, Thai Airways International Pcl and Philippines AirAsia have had routes suspended from January 4 to January 17, the government said. That’s the most flights Hong Kong has banned in a day since omicron emerged in November.
In total, authorities have banned 24 routes in less than six weeks, throwing holiday travel into chaos.
Cathay is bearing the brunt of Hong Kong’s strict Covid countermeasures as it is based in the Asian financial hub, which is pursuing a Covid Zero strategy that is increasingly strained as omicron spreads around the globe, accounting for the majority of new infections. The airline has had seven routes suspended since Christmas Day, including London, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The latest ban is for Cathay’s Seoul services after three passengers tested positive on arrival from the South Korean capital on January 2.