Hong Kong’s UK flight ban stalls students and despairs parents

Hong Kong — For 22-year-old Timin Lam studying in Manchester, this week’s ban on flights from the UK to Hong Kong is the latest in a series of relentless steps that have prevented him from returning home for almost two years. ..

“I feel trapped in the UK and I really hope the pandemic will improve,” he said.

Global financial hub officials said on Monday that Hong Kong would ban passenger flights from the United Kingdom from 1 July to curb the delta-type epidemic of COVID-19.

The UK is classified as very risky and people who stay in the UK for more than 2 hours will not be able to board passenger flights to Hong Kong.

This is the second time that a Chinese-controlled hub has banned arrivals from the United Kingdom. The previous ban came into effect from December to May 2020.

The government said the ban was due to “a recent recovery from the UK epidemic and the widespread delta mutant strains there and many cases of L452R mutant strains detected by tests from people arriving from the UK.” Said there is.

Prior to the ban, UK regulations were relaxed, allowing vaccinated travelers to quarantine for only 7 days, compared to 21 days. Thousands of students are planning to return home in the summer, and sudden changes have confused many.

Wallis O, a 20-year-old physiotherapy student in the United Kingdom, said: Au said he had booked a ticket to arrive in Hong Kong on July 5, but was unable to return by the deadline.

Due to Hong Kong’s strict COVID-19 regulations, travelers cannot land in the city without securing a hotel reservation for quarantine. After the ban was announced, parents scrambled to find a hotel for their children, which was not possible for many.

“Everyone was in a hurry, so even if I managed to get an early flight, how could she board without a hotel reservation?” A 20-year-old daughter studied in Leeds. Said Hong Kong’s mother, Devi Yong.

Yong said her daughter had scheduled multiple COVID tests before her trip, but due to regulatory changes, she had already changed flight dates and hotel reservations several times.

“We have given up now,” she said. “I don’t think we can do any more.”

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