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Hong Kong bans flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines for 2 weeks

Hong Kong will suspend flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines from April 20 for two weeks after the N501Y mutant COVID-19 strain was detected in the Asian financial hub for the first time, authorities said in a statement late on Sunday.

The three countries would be classified as “extremely high risk” after there had been multiple imported cases carrying the strain into Hong Kong in the past 14 days, the government said.

The city reported 30 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, 29 of which were imported, marking the highest daily toll since March 15. Hong Kong has recorded over 11,600 cases in total and 209 deaths.

Hong Kong authorities have been urging residents to get vaccinated for coronavirus with only around 9% of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million residents vaccinated so far.

The government last week widened the city’s vaccine scheme to include those aged between 16 to 29 years old for the first time, as they aim to boost lacklustre demand for inoculations amongst residents.

Airlines impacted by Hong Kong’s ban on travellers from India, Pakistan and the Philippines include carriers such as Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airlines, Vistara and Cebu Pacific.

COVID-19: Oman suspends flights from 24 countries, including India, Pakistan

Oman on Thursday indefinitely suspended passengers flights from 24 countries, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as part of the Gulf nation’s efforts to arrest the spread of the coronavirus.

The flights have been suspended until further notice, the sultanate’s official Twitter account for countering COVID-19 announced. The decision was taken as part of the country’s measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, it said.

The other countries on the list include the UK, Tunisia, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, South Africa, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Guinea, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil.

The ban on arrivals from some of these countries has already been in place since April 24.

Oman on Wednesday reported 1,675 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 280,235.

The country has reported 3,356 coronavirus-related deaths so far.