Top News Hong Kong lifts flight ban, adds third-day PCR test for travellers By Prudence Lui / Posted on 7 July, 2022 17:49 Hong Kong’s authorities will heed science and temporarily lift the city’s flight suspension mechanism from today, choosing to rely on an extra PCR test for arriving travellers to deter the import of Covid-19 infections. According to a statement from the government, the move is supported by initial statistics and scientific analysis that showed it is more effective to deter Covid-19 transmission through more frequent nucleic acid testing on arriving passengers than flight bans. Hong Kong has dropped flight bans as a means to curb the import of Covid-19 infections Travellers arriving into Hong Kong from July 8 will have to undergo a PCR test on the third day of their quarantine. The move also takes into consideration the surge in arrivals as students return home for their summer holidays. Hong Kong’s flight suspension mechanism has been an unpopular one, as it puts both travellers and airlines in a difficult position. The mechanism punishes an airline with a five-day flight route ban when at least five passengers – or five per cent of travellers, whichever is higher – are tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in Hong Kong. Miramar Travel’s general manager, Alex Lee welcomed the move. He said: “This mechanism not only affected incoming traffic but also appetite of outbound travel as clients are worried about cost and time from having to rebook tickets and secure quarantine hotels if they failed to fly back as scheduled. Therefore, scrapping this mechanism may spur the resumption of flight services and frequency. This is turn will make airfares more affordable.” Wing Wong, managing director of W Travel, predicts a ramp up in flight capacity following the suspension of the flight ban. “I expect the first wave of arrivals to comprise students returning from overseas and domestic helpers in next eight weeks, followed by businessmen, travellers here to visit relatives, and holidaymakers. My key concern now is for our supply of quarantine hotels to meet demand,” he added.