LONDON – Japan has eased its Covid restrictions partially, by allowing inbound flights from Hong Kong to land at seven specific locations.
The move by the Japanese government comes after pressure was put on it by the Chinese territory of Hong Kong. Despite the easing of inbound flight restrictions, the Hong Kong government has called the restrictions “unreasonable”.
Japan had previously announced that, as of Friday, inbound flights from Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China would only be permitted to land at Tokyo’s Narita (NRT) and Haneda (HND) airports, Osaka’s Kansai (KIX) airport and Chubu Centrair (NGO) in Nagoya from Friday.
The restrictions were made following concerns of the new Covid-19 outbreak and the potential emergence of new virus variants in China.
Under the easing of restrictions, the number of arrival points for passengers from Hong Kong has been increased to seven – including the cities of Chitose, Fukuoka and Naha – providing those passengers have not travelled to mainland China in the last 7 days.
Hong Kong government statement
The government of Hong Kong has now released a statement which confirmed their response to the news of the planned restrictions to only 4 Japanese arrival points:
“Upon notification by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau on December 27 that from tomorrow (December 30) onwards passenger flights from Hong Kong could only land at Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Kansai Airport and Chubu Airport,”
“….and that relevant airlines could not increase the number of passenger flights from Hong Kong to Japan,”
“…. the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has been proactively liaising with the Japanese authorities and seriously requesting the Japanese authorities to rescind the restrictions concerned.”
The statement went on to acknowledge the concession from Japan, to allow flights to arrive at three additional destinations, saying the restrictions were “unreasonable”:
“The HKSAR Government understands that the relevant arrangement is only applicable to passenger flights to Japan from Hong Kong and Macao.”
“The HKSAR Government considers that the restriction on flights departing from Hong Kong is unreasonable and has requested the Japanese authorities to withdraw the restriction.”
“The HKSAR Government will continue to request the Japanese authorities to rescind all discriminative restrictions on passenger flights departing from Hong Kong.”
At the time of writing, the limitations imposed by Tokyo on flight arrivals from Hong Kong remains restricted to the seven stated arrival points.
China recently reversed its “zero-Covid” policy and eased travel restrictions on arriving and departing passengers.
In the days that followed, reports emerged of instances of a high number of passengers on flights out of mainland China testing positive for COVID-19, casing several countries to impose restrictions.
India, Italy and Taiwan have introduced mandatory COVID tests for arrivals from China, with the United States joining them, following news of a flight from China to Italy on which half the passengers tested positive for COVID-19.
People flying from China will need a negative COVID-19 test within two days of their departure in order to enter the United States, the US CDC has stated, saying the move comes from “a lack of adequate and transparent data” from China.