The Hong Kong government announced on Monday (June 28) that it has imposed a regional “meltdown” on flights from the United Kingdom, banning all flights departing from the UK from landing in Hong Kong starting Thursday, July 1. The authorities have also classified the UK as a Very High Risk (Group A1) area and have banned passengers who have stayed in the area for more than two hours from boarding airliners to Hong Kong.
This is the second time since the implementation of the “meltdown mechanism” from December 2020 to May 2021 that Hong Kong has banned the entry of British airliners. Hong Kong authorities said the ban was due to “the recent rebound of the outbreak in the UK and the widespread local presence of the Delta variant of the New Coronavirus, coupled with multiple cases of the L452R variant of the virus detected in tests of people arriving from the UK.”
In addition to the U.K., Hong Kong has banned travelers from Brazil, Indonesia, India, Nepal, South Africa, Pakistan and the Philippines.
Hong Kong authorities have recorded more than 11,900 cases with 211 deaths since the new crown epidemic began. Most of the cases seen in Hong Kong over the past month have been imported from outside the country.
The Associated Press reports that the Hong Kong government’s ban comes at a time of new tensions between Britain and China over Hong Kong. The British government has criticized Beijing for imposing national security laws in Hong Kong and tightening control over the city’s media. Britain believes that Beijing is breaking the self-control of Hong Kong.