Coronavirus: Omicron spreads to Hong Kong after Cathay Pacific crew violates self-isolation rules

Chan said chief executive Carrie Lam met with officials from Cathay Pacific Airways earlier Friday to express her displeasure at the rule violation.

Cathay said in a statement that five of her crew members had tested positive in recent days and that her “investigation into the cases indicated a serious violation of protocols by some of those people,” adding that she would initiate proceedings disciplinary.

“The actions of these individuals are extremely disappointing as they undermine the otherwise exemplary dedication and compliance exhibited by our more than 10,000 crew members,” said Andy Wong, general manager of company affairs.

The government this week tightened quarantine rules for aircrews, who had been allowed to quarantine themselves at home, unlike most people returning to town who must quarantine in hotels for up to 21 days in their own expense.

The pilots had expressed concerns about their mental health amid prolonged periods of isolation even before the tightening.

Cathay said on Thursday that the latest tightening had forced him to cancel a significant number of passenger and cargo flights to and from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has been coronavirus-free for extended periods since the start of the pandemic.

But less than 70 percent of its eligible population, far less than in other developed cities, has taken two injections of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine or the German BioNTech vaccine.

Only about 5 percent of people received a third booster injection.

Even three doses of Sinovac’s vaccine do not produce adequate levels of antibodies to fight the Omicron variant, researchers in Hong Kong have found.


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