Hong Kong has announced today that it will lift its ban on flights from nine countries, including the UK, as government officials assure that the latest Covid-19 wave has peaked.
Britain, the US, Australia, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines will all have flights resumed in April, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam confirmed today, after they were halted at the beginning of the year.
Lam also told reporters in a daily news conference on Wednesday that the latest wave of Omicron appeared to have peaked on 3 March and has since shown a slow, but downward trend.
The financial hub, which has adopted the mainland’s ‘Zero-Covid’ stance, had been battling its fifth wave since December. Alongside easing travel restrictions, Lam has cut quarantine from 14 days to seven for vaccinated residents.
It comes amid fears that financial institutions are “losing patience” with Hong Kong and its pandemic-era “isolated status”, Lam said on Thursday.
Lam has also paused plans to undergo city-wide testing, which would see all 7.4m citizens take a PCR test.
Less than 15 miles from Hong Kong, Shenzhen on the mainland, as well as Shanghai, remain in lockdown, with millions of residents required to undergo PCR testing.
Another lockdown in technology hub Shenzhen, home to the fourth largest port in the world, has spelled fears that more global supply chain struggles and ricing prices could be on the horizon.
“Now we could have another wave of stoppages, or at least limitations on supply, that threaten to push prices still higher,” Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG Group, told City A.M. last week.
“It’s another burden on a set of supply chains that could really do without it – the pandemic and then the surge in demand has produced plenty of problems, which have then been compounded by the war in Ukraine.”