Hong Kong is experiencing yet another exodus as a result of Beijing’s tough ‘zero-Covid’ stance, as outbound flights hit a new pandemic-era record.
Major airlines saw a surge in bookings from Hong Kong last week, Bloomberg first reported, despite the global financial hub’s so-called ‘draconian’ Covid-19 restrictions.
The city has already seen its population shrink by 87,000 in just one year, according to data released in August 2021, as Beijing’s controversial National Security Law threatened peaceful life in Hong Kong.
Emirates Airlines has seen weekly double-digit growth for advanced bookings until July, with the UK and other European countries being the top destinations, according to the report.
Turkish Airlines has reportedly seen a double-digit increase in demand month-on-month, as it considers whether it is “feasible” to expand its schedule.
Qatar Airways and Japan’s All Nippon Airways have also seen a spike in bookings, according to Bloomberg.
Daily Covid-19 cases in the city continue to climb, despite its tough measures, reaching record daily high of 34,466 new cases on Monday, state-run CCTV reported.
Hong Kong’s Omicron wave had already been stretching healthcare facilities when it was recording some 2,000 daily cases two weeks ago.
The increase in outbound flyers coincides with the UK government widening the parameters of its visa scheme for Hong Kong residents who wish to leave the city, following calls saying it had abandoned younger citizens.
The British National (Overseas) immigration route, which was introduced last year to help resettle Hong Kong citizens after Beijing’s crackdown, is now available to those born after 1997 – the year the UK handed the country over to China.