Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd of Hong Kong has reportedly allowed flight attendants to wear surgical masks if they are travelling to mainland China. The decision came amid growing concern over the coronavirus outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. However, the Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union has said that they want the airline to apply the measures to all flights and not just in flights that are travelling to mainland China. According to reports, the Union has received a lot of emails regarding the latest coronavirus outbreak as members are concerned given they are exposed to nearly 300 passengers on a single flight.
According to media reports, earlier Cathay was not allowing its attendants to wear face masks except for Wuhan flights. The Union then urged the company to allow flight attendants to wear masks on all flights keeping their safety in mind as they are exposed to a high degree of risk while travelling the whole time. Cathay said that as required by the Hong Kong health authorities, it was distributing health declaration forms and will be making face masks and antiseptic wipes available at all boarding gate to passengers travelling from Wuhan to Hong Kong. Few reports have indicated that Cathay is already suffering from the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and now the virus outbreak has caused the airline a 10 per cent share drop since the start of January.
China has reportedly said that the number of coronavirus cases has jumped to nearly 440 as the contagious disease has affected an estimated 2,000 people in the country. According to international media reports, the virus has spread to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo, South Korea, Beijing, Shanghai, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Singapore. While the disease is mainly concentrated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where nine people have died so far, there have been two reported cases in Thailand and one in Japan.