Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Hong Kong to require 2-week hotel quarantine for arriving flight crew

Many countries are introducing strict testing and quarantine rules for international flight crews.

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From next week, Hong Kong will require flight crew entering the Asian financial centre for more than two hours to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.

The rule will include all crew on passenger and cargo flights, sources told the newspaper, as the Chinese territory looks to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Many foreign airlines are already double-crewing their flights into Hong Kong so they can turn around quickly enough to avoid testing and quarantine requirements.

That means local staff at Cathay Pacific Airways are likely to be hit hardest by the new rule, SCMP said. Cathay Pacific declined to comment.

Hong Kong’s Transport and Housing Bureau told Reuters: “In light of the evolving pandemic situation locally and internationally, the government will keep reviewing and refining the arrangements applicable to different categories of exempted persons, including air crew.”

Locally based crew members are currently required to be tested on arrival in Hong Kong and to stay in a hotel for 24 hours awaiting results before they can go home. When they arrive at overseas destinations they are confined in hotels until they leave.

Other countries have also put in place strict requirements for international flight crews.

Australia requires foreign crews to be tested on landing and then isolate in designated quarantine hotels until their next flight out of the country. Australia-based crews must be tested and self-isolate at home until their next flight or for 14 days if they have no flight during that period.

Dubai-based Emirates, which had temporarily grounded flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane due to Australia’s strict testing rules, said on Thursday it would resume those flights later this month. The airline said crew would now self-quarantine at their homes in Dubai for testing 48 hours before flying to Australia.

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