View Full Version : Air Canada Crew detained in Hong Kong due to positive covid test.

13th Sep 2021, 22:04
A four person AC (cargo) Crew has been detained in Hong Kong, possibly for up to 21 days. One member of the crew tested positive on arrival. This crew member was double vaccinated and had a negative PCR test prior to departure. The other three tested negative. Diplomatic efforts are underway to release the crew. AC has discontinued direct service to HK, instead opting for a stopover in Seoul. The cynic in me wonders if the test was truly positive or if there is some geopolitical games afoot - re:the two Michaels and the Huawei extradition trail.


13th Sep 2021, 23:37
Standard practice here in HK with the concern on Delta variant. Cathay just had 24 crew dumped in isolation camp due 1 positive test.

14th Sep 2021, 01:52
Is repatriation via a non-rev flight not an option? Seems as though the HK gov would prefer that the Covid-positive crew be sent home at the earliest opportunity.

14th Sep 2021, 10:12
British Airways has experienced similar twice this month! The crews from the scheduled BA31 flights, arriving in Hong Kong on the 1st and 5th September respectively, were all placed in long-term quarantine, apparently due to one passenger on each flight testing positive for Covid on arrival.

BA have long told their crews, and crews have been seeking assurances for some time, that they had agreed procedures with the Hong Kong authorities to avoid long-term quarantine issues for crew. However, precisely what those procedures are has not been told to BA crews.

The quarantining of these two BA crews this month, inclusive of pilots and cabin crew, seemed to set the cat amongst the pigeons at BA. When the incidents were queried on the company-specific forum of the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) website, a moderator responded that both BA and the UK government were in contact with the Hong Kong authorities, and BALPA forum users should not write anything that might undermine those talks. If BA was so sure of it's apparently in-place procedures, it seems odd that it would need further negotiation with Hong Kong, and have to include UK government involvement.

An agreement of sorts must have been made, as BA then flew a freighter aircraft out to Hong Kong, with the intention of collecting both crews. That aircraft returned to London on 9th September.

Interestingly, the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection publishes a continuously updated document which lists the arriving vessels involved in cases having Covid detected on arrival. The document has the long-winded title of "List of Flights/Trains/Ships/Vehicles Taken by Confirmed or Probable Cases of COVID-19 From 2 Days Before Onset of Symptoms, Or Taken by 2 or More Confirmed or Probable Cases During Incubation Period"
It can be found here: https://www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/flights_trains_en.pdf

As of the time of writing, the published data runs to 11th September, and includes the two BA flights. The link in the opening post, to a Toronto Sun article states that "The four-person cargo plane crew were detained Sept. 9 after a pilot allegedly tested positive for COVID-19". However, the Air Canada flight is not (yet) listed.

14th Sep 2021, 12:38
AC has discontinued direct service to HK, instead opting for a stopover in Seoul.

Sound like a great idea to me. Crew overnights twice in Seoul and does not get out of the aircraft in Hong Kong. Also (probably) less crew needed, so also limiting the risk of exposure.

Capt Scribble
14th Sep 2021, 18:42
False positive most likely. Just wondering what the reaction will be if a bad strain of flu breaks out this winter.

14th Sep 2021, 19:23
The most likely result of a Covid test is not a false positive. If it were, tests would be pointless.

Commander Taco
14th Sep 2021, 20:08
Three of the four released and sent home.

ATC Watcher
15th Sep 2021, 17:15
Capt Scribble

The flu is not a corona virus and if some of the symptoms are similar , the tests are not the same. As to this particular case here it is not uncommon for fully vaccinated people to be catching and carrying the virus, and even less uncommon to test negative one day and positive the next. We'll get more of these are times goes by unfortunately .
Out of pure curiosity , what would happen if a Chinese crew would text positive on arrival at JFK or YUL ?

15th Sep 2021, 19:13
Unless I am mistaken (or the rule is different for Chinese from European crew), US and Canada do not mandate a COVID test on arrival for aircrews.

19th Sep 2021, 16:08

Interesting post. I'm surprised Crews got Q after a pax testing positive. The info I have is that if any more than 2 pax test positive on arrival then the Airline gets banned for two weeks. EK/QR/TK have all recently had the same fate.
The fate for crews if positive on arrival is 21 days in the Q camp. However, Diplomatic intervention then takes place. Apparently an AF Pilot got sent to Q camp and only a call from Macron to President XI (or the big chief if I go the name wrong) got him out. Might have been China also not HKG.