Hong Kong announced a 2-week ban on incoming flights from 8 countries, including the United States and Britain. It also tightened restrictions on Wednesday, January 5, as authorities feared the 5th wave of COVID infections.
The restrictions were announced as health authorities scoured the port city for the contacts of a COVID patient, some of whom had been aboard RCI-Royal Caribbean's ship Spectrum of the Seas that was ordered to cut short its "cruise to nowhere" and sail back to port.
Incoming flights from the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, including interchanges, will be banned from January 8 to January 21.
The government will ban indoor dining after 6 PM from Friday, and close museums, sports centres, swimming pools, bars and clubs, and other venues for at least 2 weeks. Future cruises will be cancelled.
On December 31, a streak of 3 months without community cases ended with Hong Kong's first local transmission of the Omicron variant and since then, authorities have scrambled to track and test hundreds of people who had been in contact with Omicron patients.
As part of its COVID restrictions, Hong Kong restricted voyages to short trips in nearby waters, with liners asked to operate at reduced capacity and to only allow vaccinated guests who test negative for the virus.
Spectrum OTS, which returned a day early, had ~2,500 passengers and ~1200 crew onboard. The 9 close contact passengers have tested negative so far and were sent to a quarantine centre, while the rest of the travellers and crew have to undergo several tests.
For more Spectrum of the Seas incidents and accidents see the ship's CruiseMinus page.