HONG KONG (Reuters) – The Hong Kong government has urged Japan to withdraw COVID-19 restrictions that require passenger flights from financial hubs to land only at four designated Japanese airports. , said the decision will affect about 60,000 passengers.
The United States, India, Italy and Taiwan have made it mandatory for travelers from China to test for COVID-19 after Beijing’s decision last month to lift its strict zero-COVID policy, prompting a surge in cases in mainland China. I’m here.
Hong Kong, home to more than 7 million people, where about 20,000 coronavirus cases are recorded daily, lifted COVID restrictions for the first time in three years on Thursday.
Japan, a top travel destination for Hong Kong people, has announced that it will restrict flights from Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China to two airports in Tokyo, plus Osaka and Nagoya, from Friday. This decision will be made during the peak travel season, prior to the Chinese New Year holiday beginning January 22nd.
“It is understood that between December 30, 2022 and the end of January 2023, about 250 Hong Kong airline flights will be affected, affecting about 60,000 passengers,” the government said late Wednesday. said in a statement.
Mayor John Lee said the government showed its disappointment with the Japanese government.
“Hong Kong people think they should be allowed to use more than just these four airports,” Lee said.
The government will continue to operate Hong Kong Airlines flights returning to Hong Kong from various airports in Japan “to ensure the smooth return of Hong Kong people from Japan and to minimize the impact of the incident on Hong Kong tourists”. Said it can be carried.
Hong Kong’s flagship carrier Cathay Pacific Airways (0293.HK) said in a statement Thursday that it will continue to operate flights to Japan, but will cut to 65 weekly flights, down 20% from its planned schedule for January 2023. Stated.
Hong Kong Express, which is owned by Cathay Pacific, said in a separate statement that it could only operate 60 scheduled flights a week to Japanese destinations due to restrictions, canceling 41 flights from Hong Kong to Japan in January 2023. urged
Hong Kong Airlines and Peach Aviation have announced the cancellation of some flight routes due to regulations.
China began dismantling its COVID regime in December with the world’s strictest lockdowns and mass testing, putting its battered economy on track for a full reopening next year.
The lifting of restrictions, followed by widespread outcry against them, could allow COVID to spread largely unchecked, infecting millions of people a day, according to some international health experts. It means that there is
Reporting by Farah Master and Twinnie Siu.Edited by Lincoln Feast and Stephen Coates
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