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Hong Kong bans PAL passenger flights for 2 weeks over virus cases, say HK media

Hong Kong on Sunday banned Philippine Airlines flights from Manila for two weeks after three of passengers from Manila tested positive for COVID-19, Hong Kong media reported.

According to the South China Morning Post, the 14-day ban, which took effect on Sunday, was imposed after three of the seven imported COVID-19 cases confirmed in Hong Kong were found to have come from Manila via PAL's flight PR300.

The ban is set to end on September 11.

PAL confirmed Monday that it will suspend passenger flights to Hong Kong.

According to PAL spokesperson Ma. Cielo Villaluna, the carrier will continue with its flights to Hong Kong, but only for cargo.

“While PAL will not be able to carry passengers from Manila to Hong Kong up to September 11 to comply with the restriction, we will continue to operate all-cargo flights into Hong Kong,” she said in a mobile message.

She added that all three passengers (two Filipinos and one Chinese national) "presented negative COVID-19 test results when they checked in for their PR300 flights.”

PAL did not elaborate on how many flights would be hit by the ban, but said passenger flights from Hong Kong to Manila will continue to operate every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

“We consistently comply with industry and regulatory safety protocols in the Philippines and abroad,” it said.

“We assure the flying public that strict safety measures are in place to protect our passengers throughout the journey on all our flights,” the carrier added.

PAL noted that its air flow systems ensure a protective air flow inflight, and each plane has onboard high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to clean cabins from bacteria and viruses.

The carrier added that cabin crew are also issued full personal protective equipment, face masks, and face shields, and aircraft surfaces are sanitized and disinfected after every flight.

The Philippines has so far recorded a total of 1,954,023 confirmed COVID-19 cases including 1,777,693 recoveries and 33,109 fatalities. — Ma. Angelica Garcia and Jon Viktor Cabuenas/BM/AOL, GMA News