At least 49 passengers on a flight from New Delhi to Hong Kong have tested positive for COVID-19, on Tuesday. Earlier, Hong Kong had imposed two-week ban on all flights from India, as well as Pakistan and the Philippinesfrom April 20 – May 3, categorising the countries as “extremely high risk” after detecting the N501Y mutant coronavirus strain in the city for the first time. Scientists say the N501Y mutation makes the virus more transmissible.
All of the passengers who tested positive flew into Hong Kong on a flight run by Indian operator Vistara on April 4. As many as 188 passengers could have travelled on the Vistara flight, but Hong Kong authorities did not say how many people were on board the aircraft.
The positive tests are significant as Hong Kong has been recording fewer daily cases than the total detected on the flight since it brought a fourth wave under control in January, meanwhile India is already witnessing second wave of deadly viruses,
The positive COVID-19 results surfaced during Hong Kong’s mandatory three-week quarantine period. All travellers flying into the territory must also provide a negative test within 72 hours prior to departure.
A spokesman for Vistara, said the company “ensures strict compliance with all guidelines issued by the Indian as well as the destination countries’ authorities for all flights, including all charter flights to and from Hong Kong”.
Densely populated Hong Kong was one of the first places to be hit by the coronavirus but the tough entry conditions, strict social-distancing measures and universal mask wearing have helped keep infections to just over 11,000 with 209 deaths.
Approximately 9.8 percent of the 7.5 million people who live in the city have been vaccinated so far.