Press Releases in Hong Kong

HK lifts compulsory quarantine for over 100 Cathay aircrew

HONGKONG – Hong Kong health authorities on Saturday lifted the compulsory quarantine for 111 Cathay Pacific aircrew members after determining that they had no contact with three cargo pilots who tested positive to COVID-19 after returning from Germany.

Around 130 Cathay aircrew were sent to the government-run quarantine facility at Penny's Bay earlier this month as they had stayed at the same Frankfurt hotel as the three infected pilots.

READ MORE: Cathay fires 3 infected pilots over 'serious breach' of requirements

In a statement issued on Saturday, a spokesperson for the Centre for Health Protection explained that the three pilots had earlier claimed that they had not left their hotel rooms during their stay in Frankfurt, implying that the hotel was the only possible common source of their infection.

It is very likely that the three cargo pilots acquired the infection from each other or a common source outside the Frankfurt hotel and the possibility of an outbreak in the hotel was relatively low, the Centre for Health Protection said

However, an investigation by the airline found that the trio had seriously breached overseas layover requirements. The three pilots subsequently admitted that they had left their hotel rooms, visited places near the hotel multiple times and met each other or a friend outside it.

In the meantime, the CHP has provided information on the three cases and the hotel they stayed at to the health authorities of Germany. An investigation by the relevant authorities found that no cases in Germany have been reported in connection with the hotel and there is no known outbreak in it.

“As the genetic sequences of the three cases are highly similar and according to latest investigation findings, it is very likely that they acquired the infection from each other or a common source outside the hotel and the possibility of an outbreak in the hotel was relatively low,” the spokesperson said.

The CHP has further carried out an investigation on the aircrew who have been put under quarantine in Hong Kong in relation to the hotel and confirmed that 10 aircrew members should be classified as close contacts of the three cases. “They will continue to be quarantined.”

ALSO READ: HK approves Sinovac vaccine for ages 3-17, logs 3 new virus cases

For the remaining 111 aircrew members, they had a history of staying in the same hotel but had no contact with the three cases outside the hotel in Germany. Cathay Pacific has also verified that such aircrew had no contact with the three cases outside the hotel, the spokesperson said.

The CHP will further probe if any of the cases have violated the Prevention and Control of Disease (Disclosure of Information) Regulation and provided inaccurate information to hinder the public health investigation.

“Enforcement action will be taken if necessary,” the spokesperson added.