Hong Kong bars Air India flights after passengers test COVID positive

Air India did not respond to the PTI's request for comment.

New Delhi: Hong Kong has banned Air India flights till the end of August after some passengers on one of its flights tested positive for COVID-19 post-arrival, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Passengers from India can arrive in Hong Kong only if they have a COVID-19 negative certificate from a test done 72 hours before the journey, according to rules issued by the Hong Kong government in July.

Moreover, all international passengers are required to take a post-flight COVID-19 test at the airport premises in Hong Kong.

“Some passengers who landed in Hong Kong on one of Air India flights recently tested COVID-positive post-arrival,” the government official said.

“The Hong Kong government has banned all Air India flights till August-end,” the official added.

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Air India did not respond to the PTI’s request for comment.

The airline had said on Twitter on Monday: “Due to restrictions imposed by Hong Kong Authorities, AI 310/315, Delhi Hong Kong Delhi of 18th August 2020 stands postponed. Next update in this regard will be intimated soon. Passengers may please contact Air India Customer Care for assistance.”

Besides India, a pre-flight COVID-19 negative test result certificate is mandatory for all passengers coming from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa and the United States, according to the Hong Kong government’s rules.

An airline operating a flight to Hong Kong from any of these nine countries has to submit a form before departure stating that all passengers onboard have COVID-19 negative certificates.

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Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, special international flights have been operating with the approval of aviation regulator DGCA.

Air India has been operating special international flights since May 6 under the Vande Bharat Mission to help stranded people reach their destinations.

Since July, India has established separate bilateral air bubble arrangements with countries like the USA, Germany, France, the UAE, the UK and the Maldives for international flight operations.

Under a bilateral air bubble pact, airlines of both countries can operate international flights with certain restrictions.

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