Taiwan fines EVA Air $35,000 after pilot blamed for COVID infection

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© Reuters. PHOTO PHOTO: Staff wearing masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) walking past shops at Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s Ministry of Transport on Thursday fined EVA Airways Corp $ T million ($ 35,000) after the government accused one of its pilots of a rare locally transmitted case of COVID-19 for failing to comply. the rules on disease prevention.

Until this week, Taiwan had not reported domestic transmission since April 12, thanks to early and effective steps to stop the virus, including mass masks and strict quarantines for all arrivals.

But the government was shaken by Tuesday’s announcement of the domestic infection of a woman who is a friend of a New Zealand pilot who was confirmed to have been infected earlier in the week after flying routes to the United States.

EVA Air has fired the pilot, who is not named and is being treated at the hospital.

The case has ignited public anger after the government said he had not reported all of his contacts and the places he had been, nor did he have a face mask in the cockpit when he should have it.

In a statement referring to the “uprising” caused by the case, the Ministry of Transport quoted its minister Lin Chia-lung as saying that the airline had not fully implemented epidemic prevention measures.

For violating rules related to COVID-19, the Minister will fine the airline T $ 1 million, the maximum statutory fine it can do, it added.

The ministry will require carriers to tighten their epidemic prevention measures for the air crew while also issuing its own new rules, it said.

EVA Air, which has already apologized for the incident, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It has not been possible to reach the pilot for comment. EVA Air, like most airlines, has a very reduced schedule due to boundary restrictions globally.

($ 1 = 28.1190 Taiwan dollars)

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