Hong Kong has banned flights from Nepal Airlines (RA, Kathmandu) for the third time after passengers tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival, according to an announcement by Health Director Constance Chan Hon-yee.

She told a press conference the airline had been banned for another 14 days from November 12, 2020, after 12 passengers arriving on a Nepal Airlines flight on November 10 tested positive for the virus, reported the South China Morning Post.

The government will also clamp-down on airlines allowing the boarding of passengers who do not meet entry requirements, which include a negative virus test result and a valid hotel booking, she warned.

Nepal Airlines was already barred from Hong Kong for two weeks on October 3 after six passengers tested positive on arrival. On October 22, nine Nepal Airlines passengers, who had twice tested negative during their quarantine period, were among 11 new cases in Hong Kong, resulting in authorities banning the carrier yet again.

Nepal Airlines spokesperson Karishma Shrestha said the airline was deliberating ways to prevent such incidents from recurring, the report said.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal had raised questions about the credibility of private laboratories in Nepal after passengers carrying negative certificates tested positive at destination airports, reported the Katmandu Post.