UK flight suspension necessary

January 5, 2021

(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)


Chief Executive Carrie Lam today said it is necessary to ban flights from the United Kingdom, where the new virus variant was found, to avoid putting Hong Kong at risk.


Speaking to reporters ahead of the Executive Council meeting this morning, Mrs Lam explained that the COVID-19 situation is still very severe in many parts of the world and thus it is important for the Government to take watertight measures to ensure that Hong Kong will not import confirmed cases, including suspending flights from the UK.


“The UK and South Africa are now two of the high-risk places because of this new variant in the virus. For a while, many places, not just Hong Kong, have suspended flights from the UK because of this worry.


“You cannot blame those places, including Hong Kong, because the situation was very severe when we were told that this virus was 70% more infectious and when we were told by the relevant minister in the UK government that it was almost out of control.


“So if it was almost out of control in the UK and the receiving places like Hong Kong - which we do have a lot of returnees from the UK accounting for about one third of arrivals at the Hong Kong International Airport - did nothing, you can imagine it would be putting our city at great risk.


“So we have to take this measure, which was very difficult, because it involves Hong Kong residents and many of them are students or parents who have gone to visit the students and they need to come back.”


Mrs Lam noted that the Immigration Department has received about 190 requests for assistance.


“The Government will seriously look into the situation and see whether we could make some adjustments later on.


“As far as I’m aware, the major airlines flying between Hong Kong and London have suspended their flights until sometime this month. So we will together review the situation.”

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