Hong Kong and Singapore block Aussie flights due to high Omicron numbers

Tourists taking picture of Singapore Merlion and Marina Bay Sands Hotel

In the face of rising Omicron cases, both Hong Kong and Singapore have blocked flights from Australia.

Hong Kong banned flights from eight nations last week as part of its strict new virus curbs, as Omicron cases around the world spiral out of control.

While Britain, France, the US and Australia have all announced record case numbers in recent days, China has imposed strict lockdowns and enforced mass testing for millions as it aims to achieve its “zero COVID” policy ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Hong Kong leader, Carrie Lam, said the city-state was shuttering bars and gyms amid Omicron cases being detected.

Like mainland China, Hong Kong has imposed some of the world’s strictest controls – including quarantine periods lasting up to three weeks, targeted lockdowns, and mass testing.

Lam said that health officials feared the strain was silently spreading within the community.

Flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Britain and the United States were all banned for a fortnight as of last week.

Singapore announced last year that ticket sales on designated Vaccinated Travel Line (VTL) flights for entry into Singapore were discontinued until 20 January.

On the 21st of January, there will be a 50 per cent cap on the allocated quota of entry into Singapore on designated VTL flights.

This announcement came after Australia’s announcement in early November 2021 that fully vaccinated Singaporean travellers could come to Australia without having to endure quarantine from the 21st of November.

It also followed Singapore’s announcement that Australia was included in its VTL scheme from 8 November 2021.

Image source: iStock/tapanuth

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