The Government of Hong Kong has further tightened quarantine restrictions for locally based air cargo crew due to Omicron Covid-19 cases.

Restrictions were first announced on Tuesday 28 December, forcing air cargo crew members to quarantine at approved hotels for three days upon arrival.

When announcing the restrictions, Centre for Health Protection Controller Dr Edwin Tsui said that the number of Covid-19 infections involving Omicron accounted for 35% of imported cases in the previous two weeks and 95% in the previous two days.

The rules were tightened on 1 January, forcing all locally based air cargo crew who had laid over abroad or in Taiwan to be subject to self-isolation and stay in designated quarantine hotels until they have obtained negative results from the nucleic acid tests taken on the seventh day following their return to Hong Kong.

After leaving hotels, the crew will still be subject to multiple virus tests during their medical surveillance period for the purpose of monitoring their health conditions.

The government said that regarding Covid-19 cases involving locally based air crew, the airline concerned is investigating and will submit detailed reports as soon as possible.

In a statement, the government says: “It also expressed deep regret over non-compliance by individual air crew members and has directed the airline to follow up on the matter seriously. The airline has been urged to take effective measures to ensure its crew strictly abide by anti-epidemic requirements to prevent recurrence.”

More charter flights will be approved and supported, says the government, adding that local airlines must enhance their management of closed-loop operation and implement measures to alleviate disruptions on capacity in order to minimise the impact on Hong Kong.