India, Italy, Taiwan and the USA require necessary Covid-19 exams on travellers from China after Beijing’s determination final month to elevate stringent zero-Covid insurance policies that fuelled a surge in infections throughout mainland China.
Hong Kong, dwelling to greater than 7 million individuals, is recording round 20,000 coronavirus instances a day however lifted its Covid curbs on Thursday for the primary time in three years.
Japan, a prime journey vacation spot for these in Hong Kong, mentioned it might restrict flights from Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China to Tokyo’s two airports, in addition to Osaka and Nagoya, from Friday.
The choice comes throughout a peak journey season forward of the Lunar New 12 months vacation which begins on Jan. 21.
“It’s understood that round 250 outbound flights of Hong Kong airways can be affected between December 30, 2022 and the tip of January 2023, affecting round 60,000 passengers,” the federal government mentioned in an announcement late on Wednesday.
Metropolis chief John Lee mentioned the federal government had indicated to Japan that it was upset.
“We expect that Hong Kong individuals ought to be allowed to make use of not simply these 4 airports,” Lee mentioned.
On Thursday, Hong Kong’s authorities mentioned Japan would let passenger flights from Hong Kong additionally land in Hokkaido, Fukuoka and Okinawa offered that no passengers aboard had been in mainland China for the prior seven days, however mentioned the situation was “unreasonable”.
Flights of Hong Kong airways can nonetheless carry passengers again to Hong Kong from airports in Japan, the federal government mentioned, to make sure their clean return and “minimise the impression to Hong Kong travellers brought on by the incident.”
In an announcement, Hong Kong’s flagship service Cathay Pacific Airways mentioned it might proceed to function flights to Japan, though it might scale back these to 65 every week, down 20% from its deliberate schedule for Jan 2023.
HK Specific, which is owned by Cathay, mentioned in a separate assertion it might solely be capable of function 60 scheduled flights every week to locations in Japan as a result of curbs, prompting the cancellation of 41 flights from Hong Kong to Japan in January.
Hong Kong Airways and Peach Aviation mentioned they might cancel some flight routes due to the foundations.
In December, China started dismantling the world’s strictest Covid regime of lockdowns and in depth testing, placing its battered financial system on target for a whole re-opening subsequent yr.
The lifting of curbs following widespread protests has meant that Covid is spreading largely unchecked, in all probability infecting tens of millions of individuals every day, some worldwide well being specialists have mentioned.