At least 53 passengers on an Indian airline flight from Delhi to Hong Kong this month reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 – after everyone aboard had tested negative within 72 hours prior to departure.
The Vistara airline plane — which landed in Hong Kong on April 4 — can hold 188 passengers, but officials in the territory did not announce Tuesday how many were aboard the buggy flight, Agence France-Presse reported.
News about the large number of infections comes as the Chinese financial hub introduced an emergency ban on arrivals from India amid a new surge in cases.
Hong Kong has regularly recorded fewer daily cases than the total number detected on the Indian flight since it brought a fourth wave under control in January.
The positive results emerged while the arriving passengers were undergoing Hong Kong’s mandatory three-week quarantine period, one of the strictest entry requirments in the world.
All travelers flying in from 25 places deemed high risk including the UK, South Africa, India, Pakistan and the US also must provide a negative test within the 72 hours prior to departure.
Several cases also have been detected on flights arriving in Hong Kong from Mumbai, officials said.
Meanwhile, local authorities on Monday imposed a two-week ban on all flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines, categorizing the countries as “extremely high risk” after detecting the N501Y strain for the first time.
On Monday night, India’s capital New Delhi went into lockdown as officials struggle to bring the surging cases under control.