Hong Kong announced strict new anti-coronavirus controls today, banning flights from eight nations and shuttering bars and gyms after the Omicron variant was detected within the city.
The restrictions are the latest economic blow to an international business hub pursuing a zero-Covid strategy.
Like mainland China, Hong Kong has maintained some of the world’s harshest measures throughout the pandemic.
The city has recorded 114 Omicron cases, with the vast majority identified at the airport or during the 21-day hotel quarantine that is mandatory for most arrivals.
But a small community outbreak traced to Cathay Pacific airline staff in recent days has sparked the imposition of tough new measures.
Chief executive Carrie Lam said health officials now fear the contagious variant was silently spreading within the community.
Accordingly, flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, UK and US will be banned from midnight on Saturday for two weeks.