Arrests come after Cathay Pacific said in January it had fired two air crews for allegedly violating COVID-19 protocols.
Hong Kong police said they had arrested two former flight attendants and charged them with allegations that they had violated the city’s coronavirus rules.
The statement, released late Monday, did not name the airline, but the announcement comes after Cathay Pacific said in January it had fired two air crews suspected of violating COVID-19 protocols.
Police said the two returned from the United States to Hong Kong on December 24 and 25, where they “performed unnecessary activities” during their house isolation period.
They both later tested positive for the fast-spreading Omicron strain of the coronavirus. If convicted, they could face up to six months in prison and a fine of up to HK $ 5,000 ($ 642).
They have been released on bail, with their case to be heard on February 9.
Hong Kong’s flagship carrier has been blamed for the initial spread of Omicron in the community, with leader Carrie Lam singling out Cathay and launching two investigations into the company.
Patrick Healy, chairman, said the company is working with the government on the investigations, which focus on non-compliance with coronavirus rules and the schedule of crews on cargo flights, according to an internal video to staff checked by Reuters.
Hong Kong has been constantly adjusting its air crew quarantine rules, which have sharpened dramatically following the Omicron outbreak in late December, which left the airline canceling most of its scheduled passenger and cargo flights in January.
The airline struggled to man many flights even before the rules were tightened, as some destinations relied on pilots who volunteered to flight penalty schedules locked in hotel rooms for five weeks.
Healy said Cathay’s crew spent more than 62,000 nights in Hong Kong’s quarantine hotels in 2021, with no one contracting COVID-19 for the first eight months of the year. All were fully vaccinated.
Hong Kong follows the mainland China’s zero-tolerance approach to controlling COVID-19 while the rest of the world moves to life with the coronavirus.
Unlike the mainland, the global financial hub is quite dependent on business travelers and imported goods