All Cathay Pacific aircrew who passed through Frankfurt Airport (FRA) will have to undergo a 21 days quarantine over fears that they may have become infected with COVID-19. Under a new policy aimed at stopping the spread of the deadly coronavirus, all pilots and cabin crew that passed through Frankfurt Airport could be forced to self-isolate for 21 days.
On Sunday, authorities in Hong Kong tightened the screening of workers at the former British colony’s airport while suggesting stricter measures could soon be on the way. The move comes after three Cathay Pacific staff became infected with the Delta variant of the virus after passing through Frankfurt.
Hong Kong is concerned about the infected crew members
A Cathay Pacific internal memo told employees that the Centre for Health Protection was especially concerned about aircrew who had been to Germany, and required the airline to provide a list of pilots and cabin crew who were accommodated in the hotel in Mainz. Any Cathay Pacific crew members still in the hotel where the infected crew members stayed will be required to return to Hong Kong right away and undergo 21 days of quarantine.
When speaking about the situation in the internal memo carried by Bloomberg Cathay Pacific said:
“Cathay Pacific fully recognizes the Hong Kong SAR government’s mission to keep Hong Kong free from COVID-19. As the home carrier of Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific is fully committed to protecting and enhancing Hong Kong’s aviation hub status and to keep the flow of people and cargo between Hong Kong and the rest of the world moving despite the challenging circumstances presented by the pandemic.”
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Cathay Pacific has changed hotels in Frankfurt
As a precaution, Cathay Pacific immediately changed the hotel in Frankfurt where aircrew usually stays and suspended layovers in the German city for all cargo flight crews. Frankfurt Airport is Cathay Pacific’s main cargo hub in Europe. To help minimize the danger of the virus spreading in Hong Kong, all Cathay Pacific aircrew who have been in Germany must undergo 21 days of quarantine in a government isolation facility.
In addition to this, anyone who has come into contact with the three infected Cathay Pacific employees is being told to self-isolate for three weeks in their current location. When asked by the South China Morning Post newspaper about possible disruptions due to the new measures, an airline spokesperson said:
“We are trying our best to maintain our cargo network as much as we can. It is very important to keep the flow of cargo between Hong Kong and the rest of the world.”
Opening the border with China is a priority
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) is the world’s busiest international airport for cargo, and as a part of Hong Kong’s Zero COVID-19 push, it is eager to reopen its border with mainland China. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam is pushing for two-way travel between Hong Kong and China and says its importance comes before all else.
A source familiar with the goings-on at Cathay Pacific said the airline had flown 14 passenger and seven cargo flights to Frankfurt in the past 14 days and suggested that hundreds of Cathay staff could face quarantine.
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