Hong Kong reportedly announced that it will ban the non-residents, including tourists, from entering the country for at least 14 days, effective as of March 25 following a spike in new coronavirus cases fuelled largely the foreign nationals. Mainland China, Taiwan, and Macau are among the high-risk countries whose citizens Hong-Kong instructed to withhold when entering via travel to other countries. Entering directly from mainland, Taiwan and Macau citizens might be considered, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced at a news conference.
The government of Hong Kong, in a sweeping measure, unauthorized the travellers to arrive through the airport transit. The decision comes as the country begins second-wave of the pandemic hit, recording over 38 new cases in the past 24 hours, leaping the toll to 356, as per the reports. The region had earlier reinstated that the government would be announcing pivotal containment measures to stem COVID-19 strain. Residents returning from Europe and the United States will have to undergo critical health screening procedures to determine whether they contracted the disease. The city's international airport suspended all transit services for at least two weeks, as per the media reports.
Lam further said that the plans were to "be reviewed almost on a daily basis". The reason for heightened restrictions was "uncertainty in the global situation". Her decision comes after a record stock market decline. The global coronavirus outbreak has reportedly caused unprecedented disruptions that have brought an unparalleled shock to the country’s economy.
Hong Kong's Finance Minister Paul Chan said in a news conference, commenting on the financial situation, “the further development will depend on a number of factors, the outbreak of the coronavirus, the drop in oil prices, are relevant factors, but on the other hand, their own domestic and political situation is also relevant”. Hong Kong’s low-cost airline HK Express, part of the Cathay Pacific Group, was reported suspending all flights until the end of April due to dip in travel demands, as per media reports. HK Express normally flew at least 25 routes throughout Asia.
(With inputs from AP)