Travel news: Hong Kong issues travel alert for Russia


An amber travel alert for Russia has been issued by the government over health concerns from wildfire- fueled smog blanketing Moscow.

The government said it took into account the health hazards facing travelers from the smog caused by persistent forest fires, and the latest advice from Australia and Canada.

But travelers who cancel their package tours may receive only partial refunds because Hong Kong- Moscow flights are still on schedule, the Travel Industry Council said.

Some 250 Hong Kong visitors from 10 groups are in Moscow and another 25 groups of more than 500 members will leave for the city this week, TIC executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said.

“But due to the normal flights schedule, tourists would not be able to get back all their fees if they want to cancel booked trips to Russia,” said Tung, adding it is also hard for travel agencies to cancel booked rooms in hotels.

A government spokesman urged those who plan to visit Russia to monitor the situation.

The Department of Health advised holidaymakers to be alert to possible hazards.

The elderly and the young are advised to consult their doctors before leaving.

Travelers to Moscow are advised to wear appropriate clothing, drink more water and avoid prolonged and heavy outdoor activities.

The department also urged travelers to buy specially designed masks as “paper masks commonly available on the market cannot offer enough protection.”

The daily mortality rate in Moscow has doubled and mortuaries are filled almost to capacity amid an acrid smog caused by fires during the worst heatwave in Russia’s history.