Qatar Airways flights from Doha to Hong Kong 'temporarily banned'

Hong Kong has temporarily barred Qatar Airways flights from Doha starting Tuesday after it said new cases were imported.
Some 13 Covid-19 cases were reportedly imported into Hong Kong on Tuesday, forcing the city to ban Qatar Airways flights from Doha.

Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection said that QA flights from Doha will not be allowed to land in Hong Kong starting Tuesday until 11 October.

The Department of Health made the decision after a passenger flight from Doha, flight QR818, arrived in the city on 26 September with four Covid-19 infected passengers. The passengers were confirmed positive after undergoing arrival testing in Hong Kong.

“The global situation of Covid-19 infection remains severe and there is a continuous increase in the number of cases involving mutant strains that carry higher transmissibility, and there are also reports of breakthrough infections in some vaccinated individuals,” the spokesman for the Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection said in a statement.

“The CHP strongly urged members of the public to avoid all non-essential travel outside Hong Kong, in particular to specified places with high risk under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H).”

Qatar Airways has yet to publicly comment on the matter.

Despite this, Qatar has deployed rigorous Covid-19 restrictions to stem the spread of the virus both in the country and all entry points.

Health authorities in Doha have been reporting a drop in Covid-19 community cases in the past few days.

In the last month, the number of daily cases has been drastically decreasing nationwide with 94 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, 50 of which were detected among the community while the remaining 44 came from travellers.

Meanwhile, 120 people recovered over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries in Qatar to 234,545. As it stands, there are 1,332 active Covid-19 cases in Qatar.

The hopeful figures come as health authorities in Qatar confirmed that over 81% of the country’s total population have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, marking a significant milestone in the country’s rapidly expanding immunisation campaign.

So far, over 4,702,517 Covid-19 shots have been administered in Qatar since the start of the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme in December. Some 5,764 doses have been given in the past 24 hours alone.

Earlier this month, Qatar’s MoPH began administering Covid-19 vaccine booster shots for high-risk individuals and announced plans to roll this out to the rest of the public in due course.