Hong Kong’s two-week ban on flights from eight countries with high COVID-19 case numbers will expire today.
The ban began on January 8 and barred flights from the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Philippines, France, and India. It was introduced as part of a series of new measures. Measures include an indoor dining ban and the closure of museums, bars, and other venues–to curb a possible fifth wave in the city.
Along with the rest of mainland China, Hong Kong has seen rising COVID-19 case numbers over the last three months. The Chinese government recently introduced a series of aggressive anti-virus measures to prevent a spike, including locking down major cities such as Xi’an.
Expect Hong Kong to extend the flight ban through the rest of January. It is likely that the city may add additional countries with rising case numbers to the ban, including Spain and Italy. As Beijing holds firm on its “zero-COVID” policy, especially ahead of February’s Winter Olympics, expect Hong Kong to follow the mainland’s actions with increased safety measures. While doing so will likely prevent wider outbreaks, expect increased concerns from the population about suppression in a city already visibly losing freedoms.
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Jon is a Content Editor and Analyst within the Analysis division of Foreign Brief.