Hong Kong has banned entry by non-residents from four African countries and plans to expand that to travelers who have been to Australia, Canada, Israel, and six European countries in the past 21 days due to fears over Omicron.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday (Nov 29) that the Omicron coronavirus variant carried a very high risk of infection surges, and countries around the world have tightened travel restrictions.
In a statement late on Monday, the Hong Kong government said non-residents of Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia would not be allowed to enter the global financial hub as of Nov 30.
Residents can return if vaccinated, but must be quarantined for seven days in a government facility and an additional two weeks in a hotel at their expense.
“No Hong Kong residents of those four places will not be permitted to enter Hong Kong,” the statement said.
Additionally, non-residents who have been to Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Israel, and Italy in the past 21 days would not be allowed to enter the city from Dec 2.
Vaccinated residents returning from these countries will be required to stay in a hotel for three weeks of quarantine.
Over the past week, Hong Kong has banned non-residents from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
The authorities detected three people with the Omicron variant by mandatory tests during the quarantine, but there are no known cases of coronavirus in the general community.
The Global Financial Hub is one of the last locations in the world to implement a strategy to reduce the COVID-19 pandemic and its travel restrictions are among the most stringent.