21 January 2022
The Honourable John Lee Ka-chiu, SBS, PDSM, JP
Chief Secretary for Administration
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
25/F Central Government Offices
2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar
Dear Chief Secretary,
Covid-19 Quarantine Arrangements for Aircrew
The Chamber appreciates and supports the Government’s ongoing efforts to safeguard public health amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. These preventive measures are crucial to maintain our record of zero local cases.
We understand the need to be vigilant especially in the context of reopening our border with the Mainland and given the recent and rapid rise of the Omicron variant. However, we believe that Hong Kong needs to strike a balance between rigorous controls and maintaining our connections to the outside world to ensure that Hong Kong’s economic well-being and people’s livelihoods are not overly compromised.
We refer specifically to the current quarantine arrangements for non-Hong Kong based aircrew, who, on testing positive, are required to be sent to a hospital while other members are kept in isolation in Penny’s Bay. This has led to airlines cancelling or reducing services to Hong Kong, disrupting air cargo services to Hong Kong and limiting our ability to obtain critical supplies in a timely manner.
We suggest modifying the current protocols to mandate the immediate repatriation of the entire non-Hong Kong based aircrew should one of their number test positive. This would afford airline and air cargo operators greater operational flexibility by not detaining an entire aircrew in Hong Kong for as many as 21 days. Such an arrangement would also have the benefit of reducing demand for space, manpower and resources at quarantine centres.
We hope you find our suggestion useful to safeguarding Hong Kong’s public health and status as an international aviation and logistics hub.
cc: The Honourable Frank Chan Fan, JP, Secretary for Transport and Housing
Professor the Honourable Sophia Chan Siu-chee, JP, Secretary for Food and Health
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