One-year-old family's quest to return to Hong Kong during pandemic

Two weeks ago, Ankur and Priyanka Bordia unpacked their family’s eight suitcases for the fourth time in 40 days. “Are we in Hong Kong a...


Two weeks ago, Ankur and Priyanka Bordia unpacked their family’s eight suitcases for the fourth time in 40 days.

“Are we in Hong Kong already? asked their 1 and 3 year old children.

“No, we are in Qatar,” replied Mr. Bordia.

For nearly a year, the Bordias have been trying to return to Hong Kong, their 13-year-old homeland, from India, where they traveled at the start of the pandemic. As Chinese territory continually changes the countries visitors can arrive from, family travel has become a game of transoceanic Whac-A-Mole, a vivid example of how ever-changing international travel rules have become. turned lives around the world upside down.

When the New York Times talked with the family last month they were stranded in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which Hong Kong had placed in a “high risk” category days before their flight home, citing an increase in coronavirus cases there.

They therefore headed for Doha, Qatar, deemed “at medium risk” by the Hong Kong authorities and open to the city’s borders.

“It’s like there’s a dagger on my neck all the time,” said Mr. Bordia, who owns a jewelry business in Hong Kong with his wife.

The family jumped from country to country, crossing the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, with a toddler still young enough to eat mashed rice and vegetables, another child missed his first year of school and two nannies.

Credit…The Bordia family

If all goes according to plan, the Bordia family will return to Hong Kong on September 18 on a Qatar Airways flight. But given how Hong Kong has repeatedly revised pandemic policies with little notice, he said, the situation could change overnight.

A change late in the day on Monday particularly stung the Bordias: the city indicated that it allow travelers from India to return from Wednesday. Had the change taken place a few weeks earlier, it would have avoided family trips to three countries (the Bordias also spent time in the Maldives).

The city’s travel restrictions are among the toughest in the world. It has blocked travelers not only from certain countries, but also from certain airlines. In the past two weeks, it has banned some flights operated by Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, Turkish Airlines and Emirates.

A few days after the Bordia arrived in Doha, Hong Kong announced that it had banned Qatar Airways from entering the city after one of its passengers tested positive on arrival. The ban is expected to expire a week before the Bordias flight.

Mr Bordia said he did not plan to travel to Hong Kong before the plane took off.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do if something happens,” he said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: One-year-old family's quest to return to Hong Kong during pandemic
One-year-old family's quest to return to Hong Kong during pandemic
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