Hong Kong has prolonged its ban on all business flights from the UK and South Africa till additional discover to protect towards new and extra infectious Covid-19 strains detected in each international locations, describing the scenario in Britain as “grim”.
“The epidemic scenario worldwide stays extreme, with instances of the extra transmissible new virus variant detected in an growing variety of locations,” stated a authorities assertion late Thursday.
“The scenario within the UK, the place the brand new virus variant was first found, has additional deteriorated previously two weeks. England is beneath lockdown once more till mid-February, and the outlook within the brief time period is grim,”
The UK reported over 60,000 new infections for 2 consecutive days this week, as authorities struggled to comprise the highly-infectious mutation. The nation has been beneath a nationwide lockdown since Monday, with parliament on Thursday passing laws permitting for the brand new measures to be prolonged for no less than three months.
South Africa reported its highest ever every day determine of 20,999 instances on Thursday.
“After reviewing the newest epidemic developments globally and within the related locations, the Authorities finds it mandatory to keep up the measure to limit individuals who’ve stayed within the UK and South Africa from boarding for Hong Kong,” the assertion learn.
The 21-day obligatory quarantine additionally stays for people arriving in Hong Kong from anyplace outdoors of China.
Each measures shall be reviewed each two weeks.
The federal government defended the extension of the measures on Thursday, saying that it was mandatory to guard town from an outbreak of the extra infectious mutations. Hongkongers are amongst these barred from returning.
“The Authorities recognises that the above requirement could be very stringent and should inevitably have an effect on the return journey of numerous Hong Kong residents within the UK or South Africa,” a spokesperson stated.
“We merely can’t afford to loosen up the related restrictions at this juncture, lest the anti-epidemic efforts of your entire group go down the drain.”
Hong Kong stays certainly one of solely few jurisdictions to ban its personal residents from returning.
‘Sporadic’ group transmissions
Hong Kong has reported 15 imported instances of the UK mutation, 13 of which had been imported by people who had travelled from Britain. The town has detected two instances of the South African mutation.
The town reported 45 new instances on Friday, all however three from native sources. Of the native instances, 22 had been from untraceable sources. The Centre for Well being Safety’s Head of Communicable Illnesses Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan stated the variety of untraceable instances alerts the presence of undetected silent transmission chains throughout the group.
“Most of [the untraceable cases] should not have a particular mass gathering — primarily, they’re sporadic. This additionally signifies there could also be different silent transmissions…different instances we have no idea but in the neighborhood,” she stated.