The government of Hong Kong has banned all the flights from Air India on Sunday following a sudden increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, as reported by local media.
Hong Kong’s department of health has been quoted by the local media as saying that flights of Air India and Cathay Dragon have been prohibited for two weeks, from September 20 to October 3 when Indian passengers were found to be infected.
Cathay Pacific said in a statement that five passengers from India who were on a Cathay Dragon flight between Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong on September 18 tested positive for Covid-19, even after they submitted negative nucleic acid tests before their trip. The passengers were earlier on an India Express flight.
Hong Kong recorded the highest number of new infections in almost a month. One-third of the 23 new cases were in people who had recently travelled from India, according to the Centre for Health Protection. Only four local infections were reported.
Hong Kong had banned flights operated by Air India in August too. These flights were part of the Vande Bharat Mission.
The Vande Bharat Mission started in early May to evacuate Indians stranded abroad due to travel restrictions in wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
A passenger from India can arrive in Hong Kong only if he or she has a Covid-19 negative certificate from a test done 72 hours prior to the journey, according to the rules issued by the Hong Kong government in July.
Air India Express flights were suspended for 24 hours on Friday by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) for bringing two passengers with Covid-positive certificates on August 28 and September 4.
As per the UAE government rules, each passenger travelling from India is required to bring an original Covid-negative certificate from the RT-PCR test done 96 hours prior to the journey.