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3 Pilots Canned After Testing Positive for COVID

Alleged breach of Cathay Pacific rules forced hundreds of people to enter quarantine
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2021 8:31 AM CST
Airline Fires 3 Infected Pilots
A Cathay cargo plane in Vancouver.   (Trevor MacInnis/Wikipedia Commons)

(Newser) – Three Cathay Pacific pilots who tested positive for COVID after returning to Hong Kong from a layover in Frankfurt have been canned. The Hong Kong-based airline said Thursday that the three cargo pilots were fired over a "serious breach" of crew rules, reports Reuters. Cathay requires aircrews with layovers overseas to go directly to their hotel in company-arranged transport and then remain in their rooms for the entire layover, the BBC reports. A source tells the South China Morning Post that the three pilots are suspected of leaving their hotel rooms during the layover in Germany and becoming infected with COVID as a result.

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Hong Kong has some of the world's strictest quarantine rules and the three infections affected hundreds of others people. The government ordered 130 cargo and passenger pilots who had stayed at the same hotel to spend 21 days at a government quarantine center, Al Jazeera reports. Dozens of friends and contacts of the infected pilots were also send to a quarantine center, as were more than 120 students at an international school where the wife of one pilot teaches. Cathay has now tightened the rules for aircrew returning from overseas. They have been ordered to stay home except for essential activities during their first three days back in Hong Kong, and to "avoid unnecessary social contact" and undergo daily testing for the following 18 days. (Read more Cathay Pacific stories.)

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