Govt tightens measures for flight crew staff

The government said on Friday it would tighten infection-control measures for flight crew members, after two of them were among the city’s recent imported Covid-19 patients.

Under the changes, all local air crew staff are required to get their third doses of Covid-19 vaccine.

Local cargo crew staff will be subject to daily testing upon their return to Hong Kong and stricter restrictions on their movements will be imposed during their medical surveillance periods.

Airlines have also been requested to come up with clearer guidelines and strengthen monitoring to minimise their crew members’ contact with the community.

In addition, companies have been asked to assign on-site personnel to monitor cargo crew staff overseas to ensure they comply with a closed-loop operation system.

Under that arrangement, point-to-point transport will take crew members from the airport to the hotel, and they are barred from travelling outside the hotel.

“The enhancements should further manage risks, while maintaining the essential air services and supplies into and out of Hong Kong,” a government spokesman said.

Officials also said they were deeply concerned about the two imported cases involving cargo crew members, and have asked Cathay Pacific to submit reports and take follow-up action.

In a statement, Cathay Pacific said an internal investigation is under way, and appropriate measures and actions will be taken if improvements are needed or requirements are not followed.

All eligible aircrew will be required to get the third dose of vaccine, the airline said, while other employees are also encouraged to get the third dose as soon as possible.

Cathay also said it will step up compliance checks at overseas stations, and further guidelines will be issued regarding aircrew’s movements during their medical surveillance.