Hong Kong’s run without recording a local coronavirus infection extended to 16 days on Monday, but four new imported cases were confirmed.
As the city handles a mounting number of cases originating from overseas, its Covid-19 tally has increased to 1,203, with seven related deaths.
About 70 cases involving residents returning from abroad, mostly from Pakistan, have been recorded over the past week as part of a recent surge in imported infections. Three of the latest cases had been to the Philippines and one arrived from Britain.
Transit passengers stranded at the airport have also emerged as a public health concern.
The city’s flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways confirmed on Sunday that one of its passengers had been staying in Hong Kong International Airport since March, arriving from Canada and hoping to catch a transit flight to Vietnam.
The airline said the passenger’s connection was cancelled because Vietnam was closed to international flights. Restrictions on transit flights at Hong Kong airport were not in effect at the time.
“Despite our discussions with the passenger, he has insisted on waiting for the next available flight to Vietnam and is reluctant to leave the airport,” the airline said, adding that no other Cathay passengers were currently staying in the restricted area in the airport.
It is the third reported case of transit passengers being stuck at the city’s airport.
Eleven passengers, who travelled from Dubai to Hong Kong in an attempt to catch a connecting flight to mainland China, were last week revealed to have been stranded in the airport for at least five days.
All but one, who returned to Dubai, were sent to a government quarantine centre on Wednesday, after 26 other people who shared the same flight were previously found to be infected with the coronavirus.
Hong Kong has still not resumed transit flights to cities on the mainland.
Another mainland woman, who travelled from Britain to Hong Kong and hoped to fly to the mainland, was also reported to have been stuck in the city’s airport for more than two weeks.
Meanwhile, an online dispute resolution scheme established by the government and specifically for issues related to Covid-19 was officially launched on Monday. The scheme, operated by the eBRAM International Online Dispute Resolution Centre, would cover cases with claim amounts of less than HK$500,000 and where at least one party in a dispute is a Hong Kong resident or company.
Applicants to the scheme would need to enter a dispute resolution agreement and pay HK$200 each for registration. The fees for mediators and arbitrators would be covered by the government.
Additional reporting by Danny Lee
More from South China Morning Post:
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