COVID-19 Update – Hong Kong – Mandatory COVID-19 Testing Upon Arrival

The employer advised us that effective immediately all crew members arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport will be required to go through mandatory “deep throat saliva” testing.  The testing will be conducted for early detection of COVID-19 cases and to prevent local transmission.

The process is outlined below:

1. Upon passing the Port Health station, you will be issued a Notification of Medical Examination/Test.

2. Go to the coach loading area at Cheong Tat Road. Take the designated shuttle bus for crew members to the AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE).

  • As you are exempt from compulsory quarantine, you will be on a designated shuttle bus for crew members, different from other travellers. Please follow the instructions of the on-site staff for getting onto the appropriate shuttle.
  1. Go to the Temporary Specimen Collection Centre (TSCC) at AWE (designated area for crew members) to complete COVID-19 testing.
  • You will be required to provide a telephone number where Hong Kong Department of Health staff may contact you regarding your test results.
  • Note: this is a deep throat saliva specimen swab test.
  1. After the test, you may leave the TSCC and go to the crew hotel. Proceed to the loading dock car park area in West Hall where a driver from Cherry Holidays Coach Co. Ltd. Will meet you and transport you to the crew hotel. This ground transportation is provided by Air Canada.
  • You are not required to self-isolate at the crew hotel while your test results are pending.
  • Note: the process from clearing customs to completing the COVID-19 test at the AsiaWorld-Expo takes approximately 90 to 120 minutes.
  1. You do not need to wait for your test results at the TSCC.
  • It takes 20 to 72 hours to confirm the test results.
  • If your test result is positive, a Hong Kong Department of Health staff member will contact you at the number you provided.
    1. If you are in Hong Kong at the time of the telephone call, arrangements will be made for you to go to Princess Margaret Hospital or Lantau Hospital and quarantine there for 14 days.
    2. If you are in Canada when you receive the telephone call from Hong Kong Department of Health staff, you will need to quarantine for 14 days in Canada and contact the Public Health Agency of Canada to ensure proper measures are taken.
  • If your test result is negative, you will not be contacted at all by Hong Kong Department of Health.

6. You will be required to follow the mandatory COVID-19 testing process every time you operate to HKG.

7. As per Hong Kong Health Authorities, failure to comply to the testing requirement is an offence and will be liable to a fine and imprisonment.

There are many questions that have come up with regards to this, and as it can affect any member, we wanted to ensure we encompassed as much information as possible and send it out immediately.

If a BLOCKHOLDER does not want to risk going to Hong Kong – HKG, can they decline to go?
If a block holder does not want to operate their HKG pairing due to COVID testing on arrival, Air Canada will show you as unavailable no fault (CODE 519). You can then make up the hours the same day or any other day. Your MMG (Minimum Monthly Guarantee) is waived and you will get paid what you fly for the block month.

If a RESERVE does not want to risk going to Hong Kong – HKG, can they decline to go?
Reserve members will revert back to reserve status, with no MMG reduction.  Just advise the crew scheduler you are not comfortable to go, and they will not place you onto the assignment.

Will there be a change in Ground Transportation and Hotel in Hong Kong?
Upon arrival, crew will be transported to Asia World Expo (AWE) COVID testing facility.  The driver will then meet crew members at the loading dock in car park area, West Hall approximately 1 hour 30 minutes after flight arrival.  Pick-up is 1 hour and 40 minutes prior to flight departure.
As there is a Hotel Change, please check your Pairing to reflect the new hotel location and name.  Please note that you are required to wear face masks in all public areas of the hotel.

Will I be paid for having to do the mandatory testing?
The Company has advised: As it is an entry requirement for the country, you will not be paid for the testing.

Will the Union/Company be advised of the result if you test positive?
If a member tests positive, the Company may not be advised immediately by the testing facility.  Please ensure you reach out to Crew Scheduling and the Hong Kong Station Manager to advise you tested positive, we also request you contact the Union so we can ensure your credits are monitored, along with being able to offer any support required.

If someone on your crew tests positive, how will the rest of the crew that came in contact be treated?
If you do not receive a call from a Hong Kong Department of Health staff member, you will be able to operate back to your destination. Public Health determines who requires follow-up and quarantine. Once you have returned to your base, someone from IFS Management will contact you and discuss the next steps. As always, please follow all basic guidelines regarding social distancing and protective equipment while on layover such as the wearing of masks and avoiding crowded places.  In the event you are quarantined in Hong Kong please contact Crew Scheduling to advise and IFS Management will follow up with you directly. IFS Management, Crew Scheduling, and OHS will coordinate all efforts to ensure your safety while in quarantine.

If a crew member tests positive what happens?
If a crew member tests positive, they will Immediately be sent to the hospital and will be held there for 14 days.  In the event you are quarantined in Hong Kong please contact Crew Scheduling to advise and IFS Management will follow up with you directly. IFS Management, Crew Scheduling, and OHS will coordinate all efforts to ensure your safety while in quarantine.

As a reminder, please continue to practice good personal and hand hygiene, maintain social distancing, and wear your mask or face covering in public areas.

As this is a new process and may change, we will ensure to update you as more information becomes available.  We understand that these are trying times, if you have further questions, please contact your Base Management team.

In solidarity,