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Hong Kong bans flights from Britain over new virus strain

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People walk by Christmas items for sale on a street in Hong Kong on December 20, 2020. (Photo by Peter PARKS / AFP)

Hong Kong on Monday said it would ban all flights from Britain following the discovery of a new and highly infectious strain of the coronavirus there.

“From midnight there will be no more passenger flights arriving in Hong Kong from the United Kingdom,” health secretary Sophia Chan told reporters.

Anyone arriving in Hong Kong who has been the UK in the last 14 days will also have to undergo a longer quarantine, officials said.

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All international passengers to Hong Kong currently have to undergo a two-week mandatory quarantine in a dedicated hotel.

Those with a recent travel history in Britain will have to complete their hotel quarantine as well as a further week’s isolation at home before being allowed out in public.

Countries around the world have begun banning flights and travellers from Britain as London said Sunday the spread of a more-infectious new coronavirus strain was now “out of control”.

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Hong Kong’s decision will particularly hit students from the city who were studying there and hoping to return home over the Christmas period.

“Regarding the quite a number of students studying in the United Kingdom who were returning home to Hong Kong, the government believes we must immediately roll out stringent and targeted measures to prevent the mutated virus from spreading in Hong Kong,” Chan said.

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