After visiting the UK from Hong Kong, I have now returned to HK for work, but before I can do any work, I have to spend two weeks isolated in my own apartment to ensure I am free of COVID-19.
I travelled 4 weeks ago and Hong Kong airport was a ghost town, there was nothing open, except for a small shop opposite the departure gate. On the British Airways flight, there was virtually no one on board, I flew in Premium Economy and on a row of 8 seats only 2 were occupied (one was your truly). The BA staff treated us well, even though they were being told their fate on arrival at LHR (BA are culling staff or reducing salaries). On arrival into Terminal 5, apart from completing a form required by immigration the process was painless as there was virtually no one at the airport. I then had to use the railway to get to Newark, apart from having to have a pre-booked seat again I cannot fault the UK’s approach. The only request was to wear a mask in HK airport, the flight and all the way back to Newark in the UK.
On vacation, life was reasonable, we travelled the country to collect my Ariel Nomad and this was done without fuss, the only pertinent point was the cut price meals provided with a government subsidy, thank you I especially enjoyed this, but I fear we will pay the cost later. We also stayed n a very nice boutique hotel, the Baraset Barn near Stratford on the way home with the Nomad, I would highly recommend it.
My only complaint during my stay in the UK, was the National Trust site we visited, I thought it looked tatty and unkept, which I don’ understand. Seems like Covid is an excuse not to maintain Belton House. Also, to visit sites like this tickets had to be booked before hand so that time slots could be allocated. On arrival, they seemed to be playing lip service to social distancing, really don’t understand why they officially don’t go back to normal as it was kind of normal, except for commercial outlets being closed.
It was my sons birthday and to celebrate we visited the Go Ape site at Sherwood Forest, for someone who doesn’t like heights it was a thrilling experience and ran professionally and somewhat normal. Would do it again.
Without boring you all, the return journey was uneventful. Again very quiet airports and flight. On arrival into HKG compulsory Covid testing is required by the Department of Health (DH). There is a Temporary Specimen Collection Centre (TSCC) set up in the Midfield Concourse to collect deep throat saliva (DTS) samples immediately upon arrival. It is a good idea to bring any necessities in sufficient quantities before boarding the flight as the process from landing to exiting the airport took 10 hours.
Now, I have to isolate in my apartment for 14 days, without going out of the door, except to empty trash. I also had to install an App on my phone, called Stay Home Safe and wear a wristband with a QR code on it, which is required to be scanned if the App identifies that I’m outside the confines of my apartment. In summary, I am off work 5 weeks, even though I only wanted 3 weeks leave.
These restriction are killing the airline industry, these quarantine restrictions means people do not travel, which effects the viability of airlines such as British Airways and Cathay pacific to continue. I foresee, huge staff cuts if nothing is done soon. Not forgetting peripheral staff such as baggage handling, maintenance and even some airports themselves. We have to get back to normal, as I don’t think I could volunteer to do the travel process again if quarantine still exists at the Christmas break.