HONG KONG: Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific Airlines has imposed new restrictions, including self-isolation, on its aircrews to curb the spread of COVID-19.
According to the new regulations, those returning to Hong Kong from layovers abroad must remain at home and "avoid unnecessary social contact" for 21 days.
Hong Kong, which already has some of the strictest COVID-19 restrictions in the world, further tightened its Covid regulations for the general population last month.
Other than a few exemptions, including diplomats and business leaders, most arrivals to Hong Kong must now undergo a 14 to 21-day hotel quarantine.
Under Cathay's new rules, aircrews must remain at home, other than for two hours a day to conduct essential activities, such as purchasing food and other essential items, during the first three days after arriving in Hong Kong.
Crews must then "avoid unnecessary social contact" for 18 more days and continue daily Covid testing.
They must also follow the airline's strict isolation rules while on layovers in other countries, and must go directly to their hotels as a group in pre-arranged company transport, always wear face masks, and stay in their rooms for the entire layover, including for meals.
"All crew members are required to get their third COVID-19 vaccine dose as soon as possible after the completion of the six-month interval from their second dose of vaccination, and no later than 30th April, 2022," Cathay announced.
The airline also asked its pilots if they would relocate outside Hong Kong, as part of its contingency plans in the event of a severe staff shortage.
On Monday, Cathay said any aircrew who stayed in Frankfurt this month would need to undergo a 21-day quarantine in a government facility, after three cargo flight pilots from Frankfurt were confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19.