Hong Kong has announced it will ban all flights coming into the country from the United Kingdom. The decision according to authority is to check the spread of the newly detected Delta variant of the Coronavirus.
The UK is to be classified as an “extremely high-risk” country, the highest rating Hong Kong has for pandemic travel.
The ban will come into effect on July 1 and this is expected to affect all incoming flights from Britain.
It also comes amid political tensions between China and the West over a crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong.
The ban means people who’d recently spent more than two hours in Britain wouldn’t be allowed to board flights to Hong Kong from any airport.
The city’s authorities said the decision was based on the “recent rebound” of the pandemic in the UK and the “widespread Delta variant virus strain” in the country.
There are around 8 daily non-stop flights from the UK to Hong Kong, all flying out of London.
Flights outbound from Hong Kong to the UK are not affected by the upcoming ban.
Despite high vaccination rates, the UK is currently seeing Europe’s highest number of daily new cases by far. Most of the new infections are linked to the Delta variant that was first detected in India.
Hong Kong confirmed its first local Delta variant only last week, ending a 16-day streak of zero local cases.
The city has had some of the strictest border curbs in the world since 2020, which helped to keep infections numbers low throughout the entire pandemic.
Officials said the city recently recorded a growing number of Delta variant cases in people arriving from the UK.