‘Big impact if aircrew quarantine goes beyond 3 days’

Representatives from the logistics and aviation sectors say a new government rule forcing cargo aircrew to quarantine for three days in a hotel instead of at home is acceptable, but warn about the potential impact if the quarantine period is extended in future.

Speaking on an RTHK show on Wednesday, Chee Yiu-luen from the Hong Kong Aviation Staff Alliance said the new policy will cause inconvenience to the staff concerned, but won’t have too much impact on airlines’ manpower.

But speaking on the same show, Elsa Yuen of the Hong Kong Logistics Association warned of a significant impact on the industry if the government extends the quarantine period even further.

“If the hotel quarantine period is lengthened to five or seven days, it will affect our capacity… Our costs will also increase… Ultimately, consumers will have to shoulder the increased costs,” she said.

Yuen said she was also concerned that some Hong Kong-based companies might move their business elsewhere.

Meanwhile, infectious diseases expert Joseph Tsang welcomed the new policy, saying it should have been introduced earlier.

Tsang said given Omicron’s shorter incubation period, health authorities should already be able to pick up infections during the three-day hotel quarantine.

He said the three-day requirement is a good starting point, adding that officials can further adjust the measure if cases still leak into the community.