Hongkongers rush to Japan before quarantine hits

Top News | Sophie Hui and Michael Shum 9 Mar 2020

Hongkongers took last-minute flights to Japan over the weekend before the country launches a 14-day quarantine for all Chinese and South Koreans arrivals today.

The measure, which will include Hongkongers, was announced by Tokyo on Thursday and also features a ban on the use of public transport.

All visa-free access for Hong Kong and Macau arrivals have been halted as part of the measure.

Flights from China and South Korea will only be allowed to land at Narita in Tokyo and Kansai in Osaka, with arrivals by sea to be suspended.

At Hong Kong International Airport, a man surnamed Chan bought a second ticket to Tokyo yesterday with his wife, saying he was in need of a holiday amid the outbreak.

A youngster surnamed Yu, who studies in Japan, said she had originally planned to go there on March 26 but changed her flight to yesterday.

"The school wants us to get there on March 26 so I decided to return earlier," she said.

She added that she was worried about the situation in Japan and decided to bring more than 100 masks.

On Saturday night, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon said that, effective from today until March 28, all flights between Hong Kong and Fukuoka, Nagoya, Sapporo, and Tokyo-Haneda are suspended.

From last Friday until March 28, all flights between Hong Kong and Tokyo-Narita and Osaka-Kansai as well as flights between Taipei, Tokyo-Narita, and Osaka-Kansai are suspended.

Meanwhile, as of yesterday, all arrivals at the Hong Kong International Airport are required to submit health declaration forms.

Airlines will distribute the forms to travelers, with the option to submit the forms via a mobile device.

In Macau from tomorrow, all arrivals who traveled to Germany, France, Spain, and Japan in the last 14 days will undergo quarantine upon arrival.

Separately, Hong Kong Airlines confirmed that flight HX107 from the SAR to Haikou city in Hainan province on Saturday included a passenger and a cabin crew member suffering from a slight fever after landing at Haikou airport.

Over 100 passengers on board were quarantined at a hotel in Haikou, pending the results of the test.

The airline said it will provide all possible assistance to affected crew members, adding the aircraft has already been disinfected.

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