CORONAVIRUS/COVID-positive pilot fined NT$400,000 for violating quarantine rules

09/18/2021 05:28 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 18 (CNA) A pilot who was recently confirmed with the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus and dismissed by EVA Airways has been slapped with a fine of NT$400,000 (US$14,440) for violating quarantine rules.

In a statement released Friday, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said it had fined the pilot for going to a restaurant and seeing friends during a seven-day self-health management period, and not reporting symptoms of illness to his company and health authorities.

The pilot tested positive for the Delta variant in early September, and spread the disease to his high-school-student son. He was fired by his employer EVA Air on Sept. 4 for ignoring health guidelines.

CAA said it had also fined EVA Air NT$2 million, on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, for the carrier's failure to fulfill its responsibility to closely supervise the pilot.

This is the third penalty Taiwan has imposed against an airline. EVA Air, one of the two leading carriers in Taiwan, was punished for its lax attitude toward COVID-19 after Taiwan was hit by a wave of domestically-transmitted cases in mid-May. Several recent cases have been caused by the more contagious Delta variant being spread from overseas, the CAA said.

The CAA said the pilot, surnamed Lin (林), returned to Taiwan on Aug. 26 after piloting a flight from Chicago and was supposed to have observed a seven-day enhanced self-health management period which was set to end on Sept. 2.

Under self-health management rules, people should monitor their health and report their condition to the authorities every day, even though they are allowed to conduct limited normal activities.

Those who are under self-health management are not allowed to visit public venues such as restaurants, shopping malls, night markets, or scenic spots, and are also barred from meeting people other than their colleagues or family members.

According to the CAA, Lin suspected he had a respiratory illness and sought medical attention on Aug. 28, but then got together with friends and dined in a restaurant on the same day.

On Aug. 30, the pilot was assigned by EVA Air to fly to Brisbane, but he concealed the fact that he had sought medical attention just two days earlier even though he was required to report his recent medical history to the health authorities.

On Sept. 1, the pilot saw a doctor again and then tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 3.

The CAA said the violation committed by the EVA Air pilot has drawn a lot of public attention, so the NT$2 million fine was imposed on the airline for not fulfilling its responsibility to monitor its flight crew.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Frances Huang)

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