On April 17, Hong Kong announced the suspension of all flights from India, the Philippines, and Pakistan. This took effect the following day. The suspension was reportedly inspired by the discovery of a new variant of Covid-19 (N501Y) within the famous financial center and former British territory.
Hong Kong has recorded more than 11,600 cases of Covid-19 total and 209 deaths. Each such death is a tragedy of course, but those numbers seems surprisingly low. By contrast with other east Asian hubs: Seoul has had close to 36,000 cases, and 443 deaths. Tokyo has had 131,000 of the former and 1,836 of the latter.
Returning to Hong Kong, though: it experienced its greatest surge of the pandemic in July of last year, recording 173 new cases on the 22d of that month. It saw a second surge beginning in November and continuing through early January, and then a third (intense though brief) two thirds of the way through that month. It clearly doesn’t want a fourth: hence the quick suspension announcement.
In Pill Form:
The variant causing the commotion in Hong Kong now, N501Y, is also known as the South Africa strain. The Beijing sponsored vaccine (Sinovac) is significantly less effective against the N510Y than it is against other strains.