Pandemic Sets Stage For 'The Terminal' At HK Airport

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2020-06-29 HKT 16:56

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  • Authorities say several passengers are stuck inside Hong Kong airport due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. Image: Shutterstock

    Authorities say several passengers are stuck inside Hong Kong airport due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. Image: Shutterstock

In what seems to be eerily similar to a well known Hollywood movie, Hong Kong airport officials have revealed that several passengers have been stuck in the restricted zone at Chek Lap Kok – one of them for over three months – after pandemic travel restrictions left them in limbo.

The issue of such passengers had made headlines recently after a passenger who arrived from Dubai and had stayed at the airport for several days showed symptoms of Covid-19, leading to hospitalisation.

The passenger was among a group who wanted to fly to the mainland, but were left in limbo as the mainland doesn’t accept any transit passengers via the SAR at the moment. The rest of the group were then shifted to a quarantine centre.

Questions were raised about why the airport authorities took so many days to notify health officials about this group, especially given the pandemic situation.

But airport officials now say there are more passengers who have been living in the airport, and a quarantine area has been created for them in the restricted zone.

One of the them had arrived at Chek Lap Kok on a Cathay Pacific flight from Canada, all the way back in March.

The passenger was hoping to fly on to Vietnam, but the country had closed its borders.

The Vietnamese passenger is said to be refusing to leave the airport and wants to catch the first flight that sets off to the country.

The airport authority also said it was notified about a passenger who arrived on a British Airways flight earlier this month, intending to go to the mainland.

She isn't allowed to, but has turned down an offer from BA to return to the UK and is still at Chek Lap Kok.

Authorities said the airline failed to comply with regulations when they flew her here. They also said the passenger is chronically ill, but refusing offers of medical help.

The Centre for Health Protection said it has worked with the Airport Authority to establish procedures to deal with stranded passengers.

Officials said they have collected saliva samples from six of them for Covid-19 tests. All the results came back negative.

A hit Hollywood movie that came out in 2004, The Terminal, tells the tale of an eastern European who becomes stuck in a New York airport for months before finally flying home.