"all passenger flights from these places will be prohibited"
Indian airline Vistara set a record for the highest number of passengers with Covid-19 on a single flight.
The flight travelled from Delhi to Hong Kong on April 4, 2021, and it saw 47 passengers test positive for the virus.
As a result, Hong Kong has banned all flights from India.
Vistara’s flight had 188 seats. Due to the current restrictions, the flight was relatively light on passengers.
Those who did fly with the Indian airline had taken a PCR test prior to boarding. The tests all came back negative.
Upon arriving in Hong Kong, passengers entered mandatory quarantine as normal.
Six passengers reportedly tested positive at the airport but soon after, more passengers began testing positive.
By April 16, 2021, 25 travellers had tested positive.
On the 12th day of the quarantine period, all passengers were tested again. A further 22 people tested positive.
This brought the total of positive passengers to 47, the most ever recorded on a single flight to Hong Kong.
According to a seat map, the majority of positive passengers were seated in the middle of economy class, although there were some cases among other parts of the aircraft.
The Hong Kong government subsequently made an announcement on April 18.
“The Government announced today (April 18) the invocation of the place-specific flight suspension mechanism for India, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
“From 00:00 on April 20, all passenger flights from these places will be prohibited from landing in Hong Kong for 14 days.”
Hong Kong has maintained a low level of infections, mainly due to its strict criteria for arrivals.
Only residents or those with specific exemptions are allowed to enter. They must also follow a strict testing and quarantine process.
Passengers travelled to Hong Kong must have a PCR test within 72 hours of travel.
On arrival, they must undergo additional testing and stay in a government-mandated quarantine facility at their own expense for 21 days.
A Vistara spokesperson said: “Vistara 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.
“We will continue to be guided by any new requirements that may be introduced.”
The measures come amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in India. Cases are increasing by at least 200,000 each day.
It has also seen another strain of the virus, which has been detected in other countries like the UK.
It is a cause for concern, however, it is not yet known if it is more resistant to the vaccine.