Hong Kong bans passenger flights from UK to curb COVID-19

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HONG KONG, June 28 (Reuters) - Hong Kong will ban all passenger flights from the United Kingdom from Thursday to curb the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the government said on Monday.

Britain will be specified as extremely high-risk, and people who have stayed in the country for more than two hours will be unable to board passenger flights bound for Hong Kong, it said.

It is the second time Hong Kong has barred arrivals from Britain after a ban that was in force from December 2020 until May.

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Closed counters are seen at the departures hall of Hong Kong International Airport, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Hong Kong, China February 2, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The government said the ban was due to "the recent rebound of the epidemic situation in the UK and the widespread Delta variant virus strain there, coupled with a number of cases with L452R mutant virus strains detected by tests from people arriving from the UK."

Parents in Hong Kong with children in Britain reacted with shock. They complained that they had paid large sums to comply with COVID-19 testing rules but their children would now be stranded.

Hong Kong already has bans in place on arrivals from Indonesia, India, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines.

The Chinese special administrative region has recorded over 11,900 cases and 211 deaths because of COVID-19. Most of the city's recent cases over the past month have been imported.

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Reporting by Meg Shen; Editing by Toby Chopra

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