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13 May 2009
Cathay Pacific Cooperates with Hong Kong Department of Health on Confirmed Case of Influenza A (H1N1)

Cathay Pacific Airways was notified by Hong Kong health authorities today (Wednesday 13 May) that a passenger on CX879 who arrived at Hong Kong International Airport at 7pm HK time on Monday (11 May) from San Francisco has since tested positive for Influenza A (H1N1).

Upon arrival at HKIA, the male passenger of Chinese descent sought medical help at the airport clinic before being taken to a local hospital for further medical treatment.

The passenger was seated in the Economy Class section in 62H and was said to have been wearing a mask throughout the flight.

Cathay Pacific has complied with the request of the health authorities to provide the passenger manifest of the 51 passengers who were in the same cabin zone as the passenger concerned. Those passengers were seated in the same row, the three rows in front and three rows behind him.

A total of 273 passengers, four cockpit crew and 16 cabin crew were on board the flight.

The Hong Kong health authorities are contacting all operating crew who were serving on flight CX879 for investigation to determine if medical follow up is necessary.

In accordance with recommendations and guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Air Transport Association (IATA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Hong Kong Department of Health on cabin cleaning and disinfection, Cathay Pacific has already stepped up cabin cleaning measures for all aircraft. The enhanced transit cleanings procedures cover the cabin, bathrooms, galleys, common areas, individual seat and meal tables . All used pillows, blankets, headset covers and head rest covers are replaced.

Cleaning/Disinfectant solution is hospital grade biocide. This is extremely effective on bacteria, viruses and fungi, but harmless to humans and the environment. The transit aircraft onboard cleaning system has been upgraded since SARS and has remained in effect since. It complies with IATA/WHO guidelines for disinfection of aircraft for suspected communicable disease cases.

Cathay Pacific would like to reassure passengers that the airline adopts HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arresters) filtration systems that are capable of filtering 99.999% of dust particles and airborne contaminates, ensuring the highest possible quality of cabin air. This state-of-the art filter technology is the same as that used in a hospital surgery room.

As soon as the Influenza A (H1N1) threat became clear in late April, Cathay Pacific posted Public Health Alert Notices at all check-in counters at more than 72 airports world-wide advising passengers that if they were feeling unwell with flu-like symptoms, they should immediately identify themselves to airline staff for assistance or defer their travel until they have recovered or sought medical attention.

Updated health messages are being broadcast on all flights to inform both crew and passengers on the current situation. All inbound passengers to Hong Kong are being asked to sign a health declaration form. Report mechanisms have been set up with the Hong Kong health authorities to ensure timeliness of reporting.

The airline has also increased the stock of face masks available inflight and staff have been advised to take a temperature check at home before going to work. Proper procedures have also been put in place for where and when crew are advised to wear masks when dealing with suspected cases, and staff choosing to wear masks may do so. Hygiene measures have been intensified at Cathay Pacific City and other facilities. Catering hygiene measures have been upgraded since SARS and they have remained in effect.

Cathay Pacific will continue to liaise closely with the Department of Health, the WHO, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on preventive measures.

The WHO is not recommending travel restrictions related to the outbreak of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus, as limiting travel and imposing travel restrictions would have very little effect on stopping the virus from spreading.

The Cathay Pacific website can be found at