Hong Kong will partly resume transit services at its international airport next week, the city’s leader announced Tuesday, as the business hub gradually reopens while keeping the coronavirus at bay.

Hong Kong’s airport is one of the world’s busiest but arrivals and flights have collapsed in the wake of the global pandemic.

hong kong international airport quarantine order coronavirus
Travellers arrive Hong Kong. Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

“Transit services at the airport, which have been suspended since March 25, will partly resume on June 1,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam told reporters.

Further details on lifting transit flight restrictions were expected to be unveiled at a press conference by health officials later in the afternoon.

Hong Kong was one of the first places to record the COVID-19 disease when it broke out of mainland China.

But the city has since made impressive headway against the virus with a little over 1,000 recorded infections and four deaths out of a population of 7.5 million people.

Tuesday marked 11 consecutive days with no recorded local infections.

Anyone arriving at the airport is not allowed into the city until they take a coronavirus test. Those found to be positive are immediately quarantined.

Many businesses including bars were forced to shut in March and April but have since reopened.

social distancing Lan Kwai Fong bars
All quiet in Lan Kwai Fong after bars shut down for two weeks. Photo: Benjamin Yuen/United Social Press.

Karaoke lounges, nightclubs, saunas and party rooms will be allowed to reopen on Friday, Lam said.

Hong Kong’s airport was ranked the largest air cargo hub and the fourth largest international passenger centre in 2019 by the Airports Council International, handling 4.8 million metric tonnes of cargo and over 71 million international passengers.

Arrivals dropped last year during anti-government protests that rocked the city for months.

AFP is a global news agency delivering fast, in-depth coverage of the events shaping our world from wars and conflicts to politics, sports, entertainment and the latest breakthroughs in health, science and technology.