22nd November 2020 – (Hong Kong) In view of the recent rapid rebound of COVID-19, many of which are imported cases, the government announced yesterday that it will further tighten the testing and isolation arrangements for arriving crew members and other exempt persons from today. After the relevant measures are tightened, all exempt persons arriving in Hong Kong from extremely high-risk areas will be required to accept the “test pending” arrangement. The scope of the exempted person’s trip can only be restricted to approved official duties. The organisation must provide point-to-point transportation for the exempted person. They must not take public transportation. During the exemption period, they must avoid unnecessary social contact to minimise the introduction of imported cases into the community risk.
The new measures include that all crew members who have visited extremely high-risk areas in the past 14 days must undergo a virus test and obtain a negative result at a testing agency that has ISO15189 certification or is accredited by the local government within 48 hours before departure and arrival in Hong Kong. After the crew arrives in Hong Kong, they must also go to the Department of Health to collect temporary samples for virus testing and wait for the test results at designated locations or collection centres. Exempt persons other than crew members and crew members, except for the consul-general or equivalent or higher-level representatives in Hong Kong and government personnel, the rest of the agency personnel must self-isolate for 14 days at a location arranged by their agency. They will also be given sample bottles when they arrive in Hong Kong. They must follow the instructions to collect and return deep throat saliva samples on the 12th day after coming to Hong Kong for another virus test. The organisation must provide point-to-point transportation for the personnel of the organization and are not allowed to ride public transport.
For local crew members, during their short stay in areas with high risk, they must go to the designated hotel arranged by the airline in the local area by point-to-point transportation and isolate themselves at the hotel until the next flight. The port provides point-to-point transportation arrangements, prohibiting crew members from using public transportation to and from the airport, places waiting for results, or places where they stay. If the crew members stay in Hong Kong for more than 12 days, they must collect and return deep throat saliva samples on their own on the 12th day after arriving in Hong Kong according to the instructions for another virus test.
As for non-local crew members, including cargo aircraft crew members, they need to self-quarantine in the hotel arranged by the airline after completing the inspection at the port, and then they can board the next flight on duty until the result is obtained.
According to the government, based on the daily average number of exempt persons arriving at Hong Kong via the airport recently, the airline crew is the largest group of exempt persons arriving at Hong Kong via the airport, accounting for 93%; the ship crew arriving in Hong Kong accounted for 5%; as for other exempt persons, such as foreign consuls and other government officials, they accounted for only 2%.