In yet another Orwellian twist to the territory’s dramatic pandemic response, some of Cathay Pacific’s pilots will be electronically tagged when they return to their home base in Hong Kong.
After more than 600 new cases were reported on Tuesday, local officials are under increasing pressure to contain Hong Kong’s largest COVID-19 outbreak to date.
Hong Kong’s ‘dynamic zero’ strategy is still in place, with a plethora of new regulations in place to moderate transmission.
As part of still new measures announced on Tuesday, cargo pilots and cabin crew working freight-only turnaround flights would be obliged to wear an electronic monitoring tag for at least three days while under virtual house arrest.
When they return to Hong Kong, all other local aircrew are already detained in a quarantine center for at least 14 days.
Because imposing a complete two-week lockup on cargo pilots would jeopardize the territory’s delivery of much-needed fresh food and other important supplies, the Hong Kong government has relaxed its rules significantly for freighter personnel.
Cargo pilots are allowed to self-isolate at home, but officials have been concerned about compliance since two flight attendants violated their home quarantine and exposed locals to the extremely contagious Omicron variety.
Cargo crews can now isolate at home and only breach the quarantine if the negative result of a PCR test done on Day 3 is back, according to the revised standards. During the quarantine period, an electronic tag will ensure that the crew does not leave their home address.
In addition, Hong Kong’s vaccine obligation for domestic aircrews has been expanded to include booster doses. Aircrew will have until April 30 to complete their vaccinations, which will include a booster shot.