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Finnair crew may face weeks of quarantine in Hong Kong after pilot's Covid diagnosis

According to Finnair, the incident did not affect passengers. The fate of Monday's return flight remained unclear.

Finnair pilots flying an Airbus A350 from Hong Kong to Helsinki (file photo). Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

The crew of a Finnair flight from Helsinki to Hong Kong were in isolation on Sunday after a pilot on the flight was diagnosed with a Covid-19 infection.

The three pilots and nine cabin crew members may have to spend several weeks in a state-run quarantine centre. According to Finnair, the incident did not affect passengers.

According to the airline, the crew had not yet been officially been placed under quarantine. Finnair said it was cooperating with local authorities and the Finnish Consulate in Hong Kong to determine when the crew will be allowed out of isolation.

Some of the crew members are local, but the pilots are based in Helsinki.

Their Finnair plane was scheduled to return to Finland on Monday, but that departure is in doubt as it was scheduled to be flown by the same crew.

The Hong Kong administration does not generally allow quarantined individuals to leave during quarantine, even on otherwise empty aircraft.

Flights still operating normally

Flights from Finland to Hong Kong have been operating normally even though Hong Kong was among the first places outside southern Africa to detect the new, more infectious Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Two cases cropped up at a quarantine centre last week, according to the South China Morning Post.

British Airways suspended flights to Hong Kong on Sunday after more of its crew members were forced to quarantine in a government centre, reports the BBC.

On Sunday Omicron cases were found in several more countries including Denmark and Australia.

Finnish authorities decided on Sunday to bar most travellers who have been in southern Africa within a two-week period, but have not so far restricted people coming from other countries where the new variant has popped up.