Hong Kong announced Tuesday that travelers arriving at the region’s main airport would be screened for coronavirus, making it the first airport in the world to require testing for all incoming passengers.
According to coronavirus-testing-hong-kong-airport/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>Fortune.com, government officials revealed that every airline passenger who arrives at Hong Kong International Airport will now be tested for coronavirus whether or not they are exhibiting symptoms.
Once the passengers arrive at the Hong Kong airport, they will deplane and board shuttle buses operated by the region’s health department to a temporary “specimen collection center” where they will test saliva from every traveler.
Passengers who complete the testing will then be shown their accommodations at the AsiaWorld-Expo convention center, where they will be forced to stay for 14 days as part of the government-mandated quarantine.
The government said it would enforce the quarantine via tracking wristbands.
“If a sample tests positive, the CHP will notify the person concerned as early as possible and arrange for admission to a public hospital for treatment,” a statement from Hong Kong read. “In general, if no notification is received within three working days after returning a sample, it means the test result is negative and the person concerned is required to continue the compulsory quarantine until the quarantine period ends.”
For passengers arriving from regions deemed high-risk, such as the United Kingdom and areas of China, they will be forced to wait at the collection center until the results of faster tests are revealed. Confirmed cases will immediately be transported to local hospitals, while travelers who test negative will be moved to the quarantine areas.
“As the testing takes time, the people concerned might need to stay at the venue to wait for eight hours or more and those arriving at night might have to wait longer,” the statement continued. “The DH urged for the understanding and patience from inbound travelers on the arrangement.”
Passengers aren’t the only people on planes getting sick, as the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) found that around coronavirus.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>100 flight attendants have tested positive for coronavirus.
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New United CEO Scott Kirby Comes Out Firing
United Airlines’ Scott Kirby, who took over as CEO last week in the wake of Oscar Munoz’s retirement, is wasting no time establishing his authority.
Kirby cut 13 high-level executives in a cash-saving move on Friday as the coronavirus pandemic has throttled the industry financially. A day earlier, he told an online investor conference that the airline absolutely would not declare bankruptcy, and that he thought flying was safe enough to not block the middle seats on planes from being sold.
Well, he did build a reputation as an open – some might say abrasive – executive while at American Airlines.
Kirby is eliminating 13 of United’s 67 officer positions, all effective on Oct. 1. That’s the day after the restrictions on firing employees runs out per the federal government’s rules for airlines accepting billions of dollars in stimulus package grants and loans.
“While there are glimmers of good news in our July schedule — we expect to be down about 75% versus 90% right now — travel demand is still a very long way from where it was at the end of last year and the financial impact on our business remains severe,” United said in a written statement as reported by CNBC.
The cuts are in response to the loss of nearly 90 percent of business for United and all airlines, as the demand for travel has dropped dramatically compared to last year and beyond.
But Kirby defiantly said during the investor conference a day before that he has no plans for the airline to go bankrupt.
“Zero percent, no chance,” Kirby said. “It’s worse for shareholders. It’s worse for creditors. It’s worse for employees. It’s worse for every constituent that we have.”
To that end, Kirby also said he won’t sacrifice potential sales by blocking middle seats, as some airlines have done. As the blog The Points Guy noted, Kirby said the airline’s cleaning process, air circulation and a requirement for passengers and crew to wear face masks make it a safe experience.
“Airplanes don’t have social distancing — we’re not going to be six feet apart,” he said. “But an airplane environment is incredibly safe.”
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