RAWALPINDI: After about 30 Pakistanis who arrived in Hong Kong on board an Emirates flight on June 22 tested positive for Covid-19, the UAE airline announced temporary suspension of passenger service from Pakistan till July 3.
Of the 30 passengers, both female and male, some had symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat while others were asymptomatic. According to the Hong Kong health department website, all the patients — except two male and one female — have been admitted to different hospitals. The website shows the travel history of the Pakistanis who had been in Pakistan and later travelled by the Emirates flight on June 21.
An Emirates spokesman said on Wednesday: “Following the announcement of positive Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong relating to certain passengers who travelled on our flights, Emirates has taken the decision to temporarily suspend passenger services from Pakistan. We are coordinating closely with the various authorities and will review and implement any required additional measures to satisfy all parties before we resume services from Pakistan.”
The spokesman said health and safety of its crew, customers and communities remained top priority of Emirates. The airline has put in place a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey on the ground and in the air, to minimise the risk of infection spread.
Decision to remain in force till July 3
“We remain committed to serving our customers in Pakistan and are working hard to resume services as soon as possible,” he said. In the meantime Emirates will continue to operate repatriation flights into Pakistan as per the announced schedule, and operate cargo services that support the trade and movement of goods between Pakistan, UAE and our global network.”
The spokesman said certain passengers who were detected Covid-19 positive in Hong Kong might have travelled to Dubai for Hong Kong. However, Emirates has temporarily suspended only passenger services from Pakistan’s all airports.
Emirates said it monitored the latest health developments and regularly reviewed and enhanced measures for health and safety.
According to it, if any passenger has a connecting flight in Dubai, he/she will need to wear a face mask through the airport. The traveller will pass through a fever detection scanner before entering the connections area.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2020