Returning cargo aircrew to quarantine for three days

The government on Tuesday announced that cargo aircrew will be required to undergo three days of hotel quarantine when they fly into Hong Kong.

This comes after authorities reported that three Cathay Pacific cargo aircrew members who recently returned from the United States were found to have Covid-19.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said one of them, a 45-year-old man who lives in Shek Tong Tsui, visited a shop in Sheung Wan and took a bus to visit a friend in Tuen Mun on Christmas Day, the day after he returned from New York.

His friend, a 44-year-old man who is also a cargo aircrew member, is a preliminary positive case.

He returned from Chicago on Christmas Day and visited the Apple store at Festival Walk and had lunch with his family at a Chinese restaurant in the mall on December 27.

The CHP said places the two men had visited are being put under a mandatory testing order.

The Controller of the CHP, Dr Edwin Tsui, said the three-day hotel quarantine requirement is aimed at intercepting Covid cases among cargo aircrew at an early stage.

“We have to balance between the risk of infectious disease outbreak and the cargo operation. At present, we try our best to work with the airlines and the Transport and Housing Bureau,” he said.

“We implement this measure of three day quarantine at a hotel trying to intercept the cases once they arrive Hong Kong in the first three days.”

In all, the centre reported six new imported Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, five of which were suspected to involve the Omicron variant.

Cathay Pacific said two of its flight crew who returned from the United States did not comply fully with the company’s infection-control measures, adding that it will follow up on the matter internally.

The airline also said the government’s plan to require cargo crew to undergo a three-day quarantine upon arrival will lead to a drop in flight frequencies and affect supply chains in the short term.

It added that the measure will undermine the status of Hong Kong International Airport as a cargo hub.
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Last updated: 2021-12-28 HKT 22:03