Hong Kong announced strict new anti-COVID-19 curbs on Wednesday, prohibiting flights from eight countries, shutting bars and gyms and cancelling evening dining at restaurant after the Omicron variant was reported within the city, NDTV reported.
The restrictions come as the latest economic setback to an international business epicenter which has been following a zero-Covid strategy. It has managed to keep cases in check but has also left residents cut off from the rest of the world.
Like mainland China, Hong Kong has maintained some of the world's harshest restrictions throughout the pandemic -- including virtually shut borders, weeks-long quarantines, targeted lockdowns and mass testing.
The city has logged 114 Omicron infections as of Tuesday evening, with the maximum of the cases identified at the airport or during the 21-day hotel quarantine which is compulsory for most arrivals.
But a small community outbreak traced to Cathay Pacific airline staff in recent days has led to the implementation of harsher new measures.
Chief executive Carrie Lam said health officials are now concerned that the contagious strain was silently spreading within the community.
"We have cases that have their sources identified but not the route of transmission," she told reporters.
Flights from India, Australia, Pakistan, Canada, France, the Philippines, UK and US will be banned from midnight on Saturday for two weeks.
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