New Delhi, October 16
Hong Kong has banned Air India and Vistara flights from October 17 to 30 after a few passengers on their flights tested positive for COVID-19 post arrival, a senior government official said on Friday.
This is the third time that Air India flights from India have been banned by the Hong Kong government for bringing passengers who tested positive for the infection after arrival. Previous bans were during September 20-October 3 and August 18-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 only if they have a COVID-19 negative certificate from a test done within 72 hours prior to the journey, according to 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 travelled 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-19 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 has to submit a form before departure, stating that all passengers onboard have COVID-19 negative certificates.
Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 due to the pandemic.
However, the Indian airlines have been permitted to operate special international flights under the Vande Bharat mission since May this year and under the bilateral air bubble pacts since July this year.
Under a bilateral air bubble pact, the airlines of both countries can operate international flights with certain restrictions. India has formed such pacts with approximately 17 countries. PTI