Hong Kong urged to ease strict travel restrictions

Authorities in Hong Kong have been urged to ease strict travel restrictions in order to safeguard the destination’s position as a business hub, the Financial Times has reported.

The Hong Kong government implemented a two-week ban on flights from eight countries including the UK on Saturday, with other countries affected including the US, Canada and France.

The FT reported that the ban had “taken many by surprise”, including Hong Kong-based workers who had returned to the UK for Christmas.

David Graham, executive director of the British Chambers of Commerce in Hong Kong, told the newspaper: “We very much hope that the ban will be for a very limited period given the extensive quarantine and testing measures already in place for those returning from the UK.”

Announcing the flight ban last week, the Hong Kong government said the grounding of flights was due to “the rapidly worsening global pandemic situation due to the Omicron variant.”

“The number of imported cases involving the Omicron variant has been continuously rising recently and there are signs of local community transmission and spreading,” it added.

“As such, more stringent inbound control measures must be implemented to further reduce the number of people arriving in the city from high-risk places so as to intercept the importation of cases.”

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