Cathay Dragon Banned From Operating Kuala Lumpur Route After Transporting Five Covid-19 Positive Passengers

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Hong Kong Authorities have banned Cathay Dragon from operating flights from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for two weeks after the airline brought five positive Covid-19 cases of Indian transit passengers to the city on board one of their flights.

On September 18th health officials detected five C-19 positive passengers on one single Cathay Dragon flight, accusing the airline of insufficient pre-flight testing, on the same day another six positive cases were brought to Hong Kong by Air India which also received a ban for two week – for the second time in a month.

Both carriers are now affected by the restrictions, Air India is once again banned from flying to Hong Kong for the coming two weeks until October 3rd and Cathay Dragon isn’t allowed to operate any Kuala Lumpur flights during the same period.

According to news reports all passengers in question originated in India and presented negative Covid-19 test certificates, causing doubt how much value such a certificate issued in India actually holds.

SCMP reported on the weekend about both incidents.

Hong Kong has temporarily barred Cathay Dragon’s Kuala Lumpur service and Air India from flying passengers to the financial hub after a number of passengers originating from India tested positive for Covid-19. For Air India, the ban was its second in little more than a month after its most recent flight on September 18 carried six passengers with Covid-19.

On the same day, Cathay Dragon carried five passengers that had the virus, who had transited through Kuala Lumpur.

Under emergency health regulations tightened on September 15, any airline that carries five Covid-19 passengers or more, or two consecutive flights with three or more diagnosed passengers, faces being banned from Hong Kong.

Both airlines are barred from operating their respective services until October 3.

The move means ­repatriation flights operated by Air ­India are grounded, and a Cathay Dragon transit route – Kuala Lumpur – is being shut for ­thousands of Indian citizens desperately seeking to return to Hong Kong after being stranded abroad for several months.

Hong Kong has long harboured doubts about India’s quality and reliability of testing, while suspicions over the authenticity of health documents also linger. …

I wrote about the first Air India ban roughly a month ago and since then apparently nothing has changed as far as test verification of passengers ex India goes. To be fair, what are the airlines supposed to do? After all they are in the transportation business and not in the healthcare field.

As I mentioned before I’m really surprised there are that many HK Residents stuck in India. I’m assuming these are people with a HKID and residence permit but not actual HK citizens?

Conclusion

The underlying issue is that the tests that have to be presented at the airport have been incorrect due to unreliable lab work in India and there is very little an airline can do.

India’s official Covid numbers are massive and if there is no reliable testing mechanism then airlines should simply cease operations from the country entirely, either on their own or by mandate from their respective government.

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