On 25th, Hong Kong media reported that 11 passengers stranded at Hong Kong International Airport for more than five days due to Emirate Airline’s negligence. Amid the pandemic, strict immigration and border restrictions were implemented in many areas. However, Emirate Airline was suspected that they didn’t check if the passengers meet the requirements of the airport transfer in Hongkong before allowing them on board.
The 11 passengers had to stay in the airport lobby for five days. After the incident was exposed, the Hong Kong Health Department sent them to quarantine center for quarantine as they were on the flight EK380 arrived on the 20th of June which 26 passengers were tested positive after arrival.
The major concern is that if the group of the stranded people had been infected on the flight and stayed in the lobby for a long time, airport staff and foreign passengers are under the risk of catching and spreading the virus.
Hong Kong airport has gradually resumed the transfer service this month. Still, passengers are not allowed to transfer through Hong Kong to mainland China due to its restrictions.
Emirates replied that it had provided the flight arrangement for passengers to return to Dubai, but only one person accepted the settlement and took the flight back to Dubai. The rest of the passengers did not accept the arrangement and still insisted on staying in Hong Kong. Emirates said it had provided meals for the remaining 10 stranded passengers, as well as the next flight back to Dubai, and continued to consult with the airport authority and other departments to deal with the incident actively.
Hong Kong airport authority said the group of passengers didn’t hold a boarding pass to the next destination. Airlines must confirm in advance about their travel destination when accepting the passengers. It is the responsibility of airlines to understand the entry restrictions and quarantine requirements of different places and avoid passengers detaining in the airport.
The Chairman of the Hong Kong Medical Association Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases Leung Chi-chui pointed out that two-thirds of confirmed cases in Hong Kong are imported cases, and the vast majority of them are airport arrivals. He also urges the authorities to conduct a detailed review and consider not to restart the airport transfer service without decisive enforcement and contingency plans.