Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam. Picture: REUTERS/TYRONE SIU
Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam. Picture: REUTERS/TYRONE SIU

Hong Kong will consider imposing tighter restrictions on aircrew, CEO Carrie Lam says, as the city prioritises its Covid-zero policy in a bid to reopen the border with mainland China.  

Hong Kong flight crews already face some of the most onerous restrictions in the world, with Cathay Pacific Airways saying any crew members who stayed in Frankfurt this month will be quarantined for 21 days after three pilots tested positive for Covid-19.  

“We have told airlines that it is very concerning and our overall anti-epidemic effort is affected if these cases emerge again,” Lam said on Tuesday. “For now, I think the measures taken by the government and the airlines are appropriate. We will monitor the situation and will resort to stricter measures if necessary that may affect Hong Kong’s daily operation and economy.”

The latest cases will not affect talks with China to open quarantine-free travel, she said. The government has asked flight crew to reduce their activity after returning home. 

The Sing Tao newspaper reported earlier that the government is planning to require all returning aircrew to undergo two weeks of home quarantine. 

Cathay has also tightened crew restrictions, including limiting them to two hours outdoors for essential activities in the first three days after their return, and daily rapid antigen tests for the first week, in addition to post-arrival PCR test requirements. The carrier is urging crew to get a third vaccine shot as soon as possible.  

Hong Kong, the world’s busiest airport for international cargo, is stepping up measures to try to contain the spread of the virus as part of its push to reopen its border with mainland China, which Lam has said comes above everything else.

Cathay last week said that a possible move by Hong Kong to reduce quarantine exemptions for crew operating cargo flights could reduce the number of available employees and disrupt the supply of goods moving in and out of the city. 

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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