U.A.E. flag carrier says decision taken after 30 passengers traveling from Pakistan to Hong Kong tested positive for coronavirus
Emirates Airlines on Wednesday announced it was temporarily suspending its passenger services from Pakistan after around 30 Pakistanis who had traveled to Hong Kong aboard a June 22 Emirates flight tested positive for COVID-19.
The United Arab Emirates flag carrier has said it would revisit its decision on July 3.
According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading English-language newspaper, some of the 30 passengers—both men and women—had displayed coronavirus symptoms, while most were asymptomatic. The Hong Kong Health Department says all the patients apart from three are currently being treated in hospital.
According to a statement issued by Emirates, the suspension of services is directly linked to the Hong Kong infections. “Following the announcement of positive COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong relating to certain passengers who traveled on our flights, Emirates has taken the decision to temporarily suspend passenger services from Pakistan,” it said. “We are coordinating closely with various authorities and will review and implement any required additional measures to satisfy all parties before we resume services from Pakistan,” it added.
The health and safety of its crew, customers and communities remained the top priority of Emirates, read the statement, adding that it had implemented a series of measures to minimize the risk of infection spread among travelers. “We remain committed to serving our customers in Pakistan and are working hard to resume services as soon as possible,” said the statement.
While passenger services have been suspended, Emirates said its repatriation flights into Pakistan would continue, as would cargo services.
Hong Kong is one of several nations to have reported importing cases of coronavirus from Pakistan in recent days, with South Korea announcing it was restricting visas to, and flights from, Pakistan and Bangladesh following a surge in novel coronavirus cases from travelers arriving from the two countries. New Zealand has also reported 4 new infections of COVID-19 among citizens who had recently returned from Pakistan.