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Published on Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Cathay Pacific under fire after measles-infected pilot continued flying

Hong Kong's aviation authority is investigating Cathay Pacific Airways after one of its pilots flew seven flights over four days after contracting measles.

The Civil Aviation Department said it is seeking an explanation from the airline.

It comes as Hong Kong is facing its worst measles outbreak for five years with 20 cases so far.

At least five of these are airport and airline staff.

According to IATA guidelines, pilots are required to get a doctor's opinion on flying but a source at the airline's union said there were no company-specific rules about when a pilot should report sick.

The pilot had medical treatment only after four days of incubating the disease, by which time he had operated several flights between Hong Kong and Singapore, Bangkok and Manila.  

A flight attendant on one of these flights also contracted measles.

Hong Kong lawmaker Ben Chan Gan-pan said there may be 'major loopholes' in the sickness reporting system at the airline.

"If he told his company and they still sent him out, that's wrong," Chan said.

The Airport Authority has now set up an extra vaccination station for airport staff.

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