Quarantine changes help Cathay Pacific, but real gains remain elusive

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Cathay Pacific's reliance on international services has meant the airline's network recovery has lagged compared to most other Asia-Pacific airlines. Another factor is that the Hong Kong government imposed some of the region's strictest quarantine restrictions on both passengers and crew.

However, moves by the government to ease certain quarantine and border rules are helping the airline restore more of its services.

While other parts of the world, such as Europe, begin to show signs of opening up again, little progress is being made in the Asia-Pacific region in rebuilding international travel. Vaccination programs have tended to be slower in Asia-Pacific countries, and new waves of COVID-19 - with more infectious strains - have wiped out many of the gains made by many countries and airlines.

Hong Kong saw a surge in infection numbers in late 2020 and early 2021, but has managed to reduce case numbers to very low levels over the past several weeks.

However, there are many nearby examples of Asian countries that have also had COVID-19 largely under control, only then to experience new outbreaks related to international travel. Hong Kong is anxious to prevent this occurring, so it has been very cautious with its own approach. Nevertheless, it has still been able to reduce quarantine periods to match the lower risk in certain markets.

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