Cathay urges relaxed quarantine for pilots, crew amid high jab rate

Top News | Jane Cheung 23 Jul 2021

Cathay Pacific is urging authorities to relax quarantine requirements on its cabin crew after an overwhelming 80 percent of them have received vaccination.

As of Monday, 97 percent of its 3,100 pilots and 84 percent of 8,750 cabin crew members had been jabbed or booked their vaccination. The coverage is 79 percent for nonflight staff.

Over the past months the airline has repeatedly told staff to get jabbed if they want to secure their jobs.

It told staff in an internal memo on Wednesday: "We are in active discussion with government stakeholders and we have proposed a process to incrementally relax quarantine requirements."

The airline said the expectation is to enjoy quarantine-free arrangements for the majority of its operation.

A spokesman told The Standard it is "always in discussion with the government to review quarantine requirements," adding vaccination is "key to the easing of travel restrictions and quarantine requirements."

Of 62,000 Covid-19 tests on its SAR-based aircrew, none have tested positive so far this year, he added.

Cathay has become the first airline in Asia to trial the use of Covid test and vaccination records with customers in two flights between Hong Kong and Singapore this month.

Using the CommonPass mobile application, passengers used their vaccination and predeparture negative test results to create digital health passes.

In the long run, Cathay hopes the digital health passes can spare passengers from having to carry multiple printed documents when traveling.

Separately, Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng said yesterday the Chinese National Health Commission did not want the hub to relax border controls too much and that it should stay vigilant due to unstable situations in its vicinity.

On the Hong Kong-Singapore travel corridor, the hope for its long-awaited launch dimmed further due to a worsening outbreak in the Lion City, which has seen around 30 growing clusters recently.

The largest cluster surrounded Jurong Fishery Port, which has seen over 450 cases. On Wednesday, the city-state recorded 179 new local cases and as of noon yesterday 162 local preliminary positive cases were pending confirmation.

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