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Hong Kong suspends SIA flights from Singapore after passengers test positive for COVID-19

Hong Kong suspends SIA flights from Singapore after passengers test positive for COVID-19

A Singapore Airlines plane at Changi Airport in Singapore on Dec 2, 2021. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) flights from Singapore to Hong Kong have been suspended for two weeks, after several passengers tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in the city.

The directive came from Hong Kong regulators after some SIA customers, who had tested negative for COVID-19 in their pre-departure tests, subsequently tested positive on arrival in Hong Kong, said an SIA spokesperson on Thursday (Feb 17). 

"We are unable to comment further due to confidentiality reasons."

Singapore Airlines will suspend SQ882 and SQ894, its two daily passenger services from Singapore to Hong Kong, until Mar 1. The suspension took effect on Feb 16.

SQ883 and SQ895, the twice-daily passenger services from Hong Kong to Singapore, are not affected. 

"SIA apologises to all affected customers," said the spokesperson.

"We are reaching out to them to offer all necessary assistance, and to minimise the inconvenience caused by this disruption."

SIA was in April last year also temporarily suspended from flying from Singapore to Hong Kong after the airline breached one of the city’s “trigger points” for COVID-19 testing requirements.

For more than two years, Hong Kong has followed China's zero-COVID-19 strategy, but a wave of the highly transmissible Omicron virus variant has battered the city's capacity for testing, quarantine and treatment.

Health authorities in Hong Kong reported a record 4,285 confirmed new infections on Wednesday, and another 7,000 preliminary positive cases, a surge from around 100 daily cases at the start of February but still lower than in other similar sized major cities.

Before the latest wave, Hong Kong had recorded just over 12,000 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Singapore on Wednesday announced the launch of a vaccinated travel lane (VTL) with Hong Kong, which allows quarantine-free travel for those who are fully vaccinated. The VTL takes effect on Feb 25.

On Wednesday, Singapore reported 16,883 new COVID-19 cases. There were also 13 fatalities, the highest number since Dec 5.

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