Taiwan's EVA Air fires pilot blamed for locally transmitted coronavirus case; government issues $35G fine12/24/2020
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The government of Taiwan has issued a fine of 1 million New Taiwan dollars ($35,500) to EVA Air after one of the airline’s pilots was blamed for the country's first locally transmitted COVID-19 case since April.
The pilot, originally from New Zealand, had recently been fired from EVA Air over the offense.
"EVA Air has always abided by the government’s epidemic prevention policies, and most crew members also followed the epidemic prevention regulations," the airline said earlier this week, as reported by Reuters. "However, the behavior of an individual employee has undermined everyone’s efforts at epidemic prevention."
The pilot, who reportedly flew routes between the U.S. and Taiwan, has been accused of transmitting the coronavirus to a female resident of Taiwan. EVA Air later said it determined the pilot to have violated disease-prevention regulations, and the government has publicly claimed that he failed to wear a mask in the cockpit or declare all of his contacts or travels, per Reuters.
As of Wednesday, he was recovering at a hospital. The woman he’s blamed with infecting has been working with the Health Ministry to help with contact-tracing of her contacts, 170 of whom had tested negative as of this week.
Taiwan’s government has issued a fine of 1 million New Taiwan dollars ($35,500) to EVA Air after one of the airline’s pilots was blamed for Taiwan’s first locally transmitted COVID-19 case since April.
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In response to the incident, Taiwan Transport Minister Lin Chia-lung has suggested the Civil Aviation Administration of Taiwan may implement stricter protocols and harsher punishments for failing to adhere to the coronavirus-prevention regulations.
"For some airline operators, the regulations cannot be implemented, causing certain pilots and flight attendants to fail the trust of the Chinese people and the country's commitment," he wrote on Twitter.
"After discussing with the Central Epidemic Command Center, I asked the Civil Aviation Administration to strictly supervise the airlines and propose specific improvements. If the airlines fail to fulfill their management responsibilities, we will not rule out administrative sanctions for reducing flights or even increasing Strict quarantine time for the aviation industry."
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As of Wednesday, Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare reported 776 total cases of coronavirus and seven deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, citing data from Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control. Most of those cases are imported, according to the ministry.
A case of COVID-19 being domestically transmitted had not been recorded in Taiwan since April 12.
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