Testing and self-isolation arrangement for air crew, sea crew and other exempted persons - Frequently Asked Questions

Air crew

  1. What is the testing and self-isolation arrangement of air crew who arrive at Hong Kong via Airport?
    The first thing is to identify the air crew members as local-based or non-local based crew. Airlines should provide each air crew member a letter certifying whether he/she is a local or non-local based crew. Those who do not possess the airline certification letter will be regarded as non-local based crew.

    For local based crew, they should proceed to Department of Health (DH)’s Temporary Specimen Collection Centre (TSCC) for collection of deep throat saliva sample and then they can leave for their accommodation agreed by the airline for self-isolation. They should self-isolate for 48 hours or until the next duty flight as arranged by the airline, whichever is earlier.

    Non-local based crew are recommended to possess a negative result of SARS-CoV-2 nuclei acid test done at an ISO15189-accredited laboratory or a laboratory recognized by the Government where the laboratory is located with the specimen collected within 48 hours prior to boarding the flight to Hong Kong for duty (i.e. a pre-departure negative result). The airline should declare on a letter of certification that the crew member concerned has been tested negative. Upon arrival at Hong Kong, all air crew members (no matter local or non-local based) must also submit a deep throat saliva specimen at the TSCC. For those non-local based crew who possess a pre-departure negative result and a certification letter issued by the airline, they can leave for their hotel for self-isolation after specimen collection and no need to wait for the result. For those who do NOT possess a pre-departure negative result, they have to wait at DH’s TSCC or other location designated by DH until their test results are confirmed negative. Non-local based crew members have to self-isolate at the hotel room arranged by the airline until departure from Hong Kong on their next flight.

    Point-to-point transportation must be arranged by airlines between HKIA/TSCC and their hotels or accommodation. Use of public transport including MTR, Airport Express, and taxi for crew transfer is prohibited. Crew members must wear masks during the entire journey to and from the HKIA/TSCC.

  2. Regarding self-isolation for 48 hours, when does it start to count?
    It starts with the time when the crew members arrive at the hotel room or accommodation as agreed by the airline.

  3. During the period of self-isolation, do the air crew members need to put on electronic wristband for location tracking?
    No wristband will be applied to air crew.

  4. Can somebody visit the crew members while they are having self-isolation?
    Friends or relatives are advised not to enter the place of self-isolation so as to reduce the risk of being exposed to infection.

  5. Crew members of aircraft who need to commute to and from foreign places for performance of necessary duties are designated by the Chief Secretary for Administration for exemption of compulsory quarantine. How do the officers at border know that I am an exempted person?
    Only air crew members who are able to be identified as crew members on-duty will be exempted from quarantine. Below are means of identification:
    1. Operating crew members who are in uniform AND are able to present the General Declaration (GD) issued by airlines with name/staff ID; or
    2. Positioning crew members who are able to present:
      1. the General Declaration (GD) issued by airlines with name/staff ID; or
      2. a verification document issued by the airline for proof of positioning crew status.

Sea crew

  1. What is the testing arrangement of sea crew who are arriving at Hong Kong via Airport?
    With effect on 29 July 2020, crew change arrangement for all passenger vessels and goods vessels without cargo operation will be suspended. All incoming sea crew members of goods vessels coming to Hong Kong for cargo operation arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) must obtain a negative result of nucleic acid test for COVID-19 conducted at a recognised laboratory within 48 hours prior to boarding. Upon arrival to Hong Kong, they must also submit a deep throat saliva specimen at the DH’s TSCC and wait at the TSCC or other location designated by DH until their test results are confirmed negative. Sea crew members who fail to present any of the three required documentary proof: 1) a negative test report, 2) a letter of certification declared by the shipping companies/agents (that the crew member concerned has been tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid conducted at a recognised laboratory with the specimen collected within 48 hours prior to boarding the flight to Hong Kong, with an emergency local contact phone number for prompt contact with the concerned crew under emergency situation), and 3) an approval letter from the Marine Department, upon arrival will be subject to compulsory quarantine or refusal entry rendering them being not able to board the vessels.

    Shipping companies/agents must arrange point-to-point transfer for the sea crew members. The use of public transportation which will serve the general public at the same time is prohibited. Incoming and outgoing sea crew members must only travel between the vessels and HKIA and should not go into the community.

Other exempted persons

  1. What is the testing arrangement of other exempted persons who arrive at Hong Kong via Airport?
    Apart from air crew and sea crew, some categories of persons (e.g. government officials carrying out governmental duties) are also exempted from compulsory quarantine as designated by the Chief Secretary for Administration. With effect from 10 Sep 2020, all other exempted persons arriving at the airport are required to submit a deep throat saliva specimen at DH’s TSCC. If they possess a pre-departure negative COVID-19 result (a negative result of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test done at an ISO15189-accredited laboratory or a laboratory recognised by the Government where the laboratory is located with the specimen collected within 48 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure of the aircraft), they may leave the airport for their home or hotel directly to continue medical surveillance without the need to wait for the result.

    For those who do not possess a pre-departure negative COVID-19 result, they are also required to submit a deep throat saliva specimen at the TSCC upon arrival at the airport, and then either self-isolate for 48 hours at a designated location (eg. home or other accommodation), or wait for the result at TSCC; and continue to complete 14-day medical surveillance afterwards.

Miscellaneous

  1. Per the enactment of ‘Specified conditions imposed on inbound travellers who have visited specified high risk places (Cap.599H)’, will air crew, sea crew or other exempted persons being affected?
    A person who is in transit in Hong Kong, and a person exempted by the Chief Secretary for Administration from compulsory quarantine under section 4(1) of either the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation (Cap. 599C) or Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation (Cap. 599E) will not be affected.

    Yet, all incoming sea crew members of goods vessels coming to Hong Kong for cargo operation arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) must obtain a negative result of nucleic acid test for COVID-19 conducted at a recognised laboratory within 48 hours prior to boarding. Air crew and other exempted persons arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) are encouraged to obtain one if possible.