The Hong Kong government has terminated the widely criticized COVID-19 flight suspension method, as the number of flight bans issued this year has topped 100.

Arrivals must still provide proof of immunization, rent a quarantine hotel for seven days, endure daily fast testing and six PCR tests over the course of 14 days.

Many hotels in quarantine are already fully booked for the summer season.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Hong Kong government said it will defer its policy of enforcing a five-day flight route ban if at least five passengers or five percent of arriving travelers test positive for the virus.

The decision, effective immediately, was made after the government analyzed statistics and determined that it is the busiest season for returning international students, according to a statement.

July and August have historically been the most popular months for Hong Kong citizens abroad, notably international students, to return to the city.

The flight suspension mechanism imposes a somewhat substantial social cost on these children and their families, causing them unwarranted difficulty, a spokesperson said.

Local health authorities were able to detect the majority of imported cases, according to the government, by demanding PCR testing at the airport and in designated quarantine hotels.

The authorities stated that the risk posed by imported cases to the local outbreak situation was "quite modest" and that prolonging the flight suspension mechanism would have "minimal effect" in preventing imported infections.

Beginning on Friday, Hong Kong will also compel arriving travelers to undergo an additional PCR test on the third day of quarantine in a selected hotel. 

According to the government, such a step might enable health officials in identifying COVID-19 patients as quickly as possible and prevent imported cases from entering the population.

On Monday, local health officials reported that three additional planes had triggered Hong Kong's flight suspension system, bringing the total number of flight restrictions issued this year to a hundred.

The administration stated on Thursday that the primary intent of the system was to avoid the importation of infections from high-risk areas within a short period of time. 

Currently prohibited flights are now permitted to resume service, according to the authorities.

John Lee, the new leader of Hong Kong, stated on Tuesday that his administration will not "lay flat" or allow COVID-19 to spread freely, but that quarantine regulations for arrivals are being reviewed.