Cathay Pacific says more than 3,200 of its pilots and cabin crew members have undergone Covid-19 tests since April and none of them have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The carrier made the statement on its website on Saturday “in response to media enquiries” after local media reports suggested that Hong Kong’s recent surge in coronavirus cases could be linked to overlooked groups such as aircrew members who are exempted from the 14-day quarantine requirement.

Since July 8, airline crew members arriving in the city have been subjected to mandatory Covid-19 testing on arrival at a testing centre, but were allowed to enter the city before their test results were delivered.

According to a report from South China Morning Post, out of the 111 imported Covid-19 cases since July 8, 34 are members of sea or aircrew. The report added that their infections were only detected after mandatory testing was introduced, and this represented 30 per cent of the city’s imported total.

“We are fully complying with the mandatory testing and other social distancing requirements of aircrew arriving in Hong Kong”, said chief operations and service delivery officer Greg Hughes in a statement posted on the Cathay’s website.

“Since April, more than 3,200 voluntary and mandatory tests have been taken by Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon pilots and cabin crew. None of these have come back positive, and none of our operating crew have been confirmed to have contracted Covid-19. This demonstrates that our aircrew are extremely diligent when it comes to adhering to social distancing rules and protecting themselves. Throughout the Covid-19 period our crew have acted with the highest levels of safety, compliance and professionalism,” he added.

Cathay Pacific says it will continue to ensure non-Hong Kong-based crew remain in designated hotels only and practise social distancing measures during their stay in Hong Kong. The airline added that the same applies to its Hong Kong-based crew during their stay in foreign countries.

“All crew members will also follow all the requirements for medical surveillance: maintaining good personal hygiene, measuring their temperature regularly, watching for symptoms and wearing a mask when commuting for duty flights,” says the airline.

Earlier this month, US carriers American Airlines and United suspended flights to and from Hong Kong due to the city’s new mandatory testing rules for airline crew members.

American, United cancel Hong Kong flights amid Covid-19 testing requirement for aircrew