Cebu Pacific flights banned for 2 weeks as 4 FDWs from PH found with Covid-19

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Flights from Manila operated by Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific Air will be barred from landing in Hong Kong for two weeks, health officials said Monday. (SOURCE: Cebu Pacific/Website/cebupacific.com)

Cebu Pacific flights departing Manila will be barred from landing in Hong Kong for two weeks after four Filipino domestic workers tested positive for Covid-19 upon arriving in Hong Kong on Sept. 1, authorities said Friday.

In an advisory, the Centre for Health Protection said the flight ban was imposed after the carrier’s flight 5J272 last Wednesday had the four infected workers on board and one passenger failed to comply with local anti-epidemic regulations.

A Health Department staff member said all four domestic workers carried the L452R mutant strain, which is commonly associated with the Delta variant prevalent in the Philippines.

Two of the workers were administered with Sinovac-developed jabs, while the other two received vaccines from BioNTech. Those who received BioNTech jabs had symptoms a day prior to entering Hong Kong.

Because of the workers’ positive Covid-19 test results, the carrier’s 5J272 flights are cancelled until Sept. 16. Its return flights to Manila, 5J273, will continue.

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The airline said they informed affected passengers, and have given them the option to rebook their flight, refund their incurred trip costs, or store the amount in a travel fund—all within 30 days from their scheduled departure.

Cebu Pacific had just announced the resumption of its direct flights from Manila to Hong Kong on Wednesday after Hong Kong imposed a ban on travelers from the Philippines last April following a surge in domestic Covid-19 cases.

This is the second ban on flights from the Philippine capital since Hong Kong lifted the ban on the entry of passengers from high-risk places last Aug. 9. Earlier, authorities barred Philippine Airlines plane trips from Manila until Sept. 11 after three travelers on one of its flights tested positive for Covid-19.

The ban is seen as a blow to Filipino domestic workers who have only been recently allowed to re-enter the city, after months of being stranded in their country due to Hong Kong’s stringent Covid-19 prevention measures.