in 2021 in solitary confinement for over 6 months –

from Leonard Berberi

China’s strict rules for the “zero Covid” policy. Commander Ma Jian, who works for China Southern Airlines: 75 days of flights and 189 overall quarantine

The employer, in the posts on social media, renamed it “King of quarantine”. But beyond the “celebrations” the story of Ma Jian, commander of the Airbus A380s of the Chinese airline China Southern Airlines, explains well what it means to be a pilot, at the time of the coronavirus, in the country that decided the “zero Covid” policy. In 2021 – certifies the same Asian carrier – Ma Jian flew a total of 505 hours in 75 days. But to comply with national measures on containing the pandemic between trips abroad spent a total of 4,536 hours, or 189 days, in quarantine. Nine hours of isolation every hour at the controls. A record.

The numbers

The announcement on Chinese platforms has a more nationalistic tone than the one on Twitter. And it serves to celebrate the “Great sacrifice” and “dedication” of flight crew during the pandemic. “Every China Southern Airlines pilot – is written in the post on WeChat – knows that it guarantees the stability of the international supply chain and knows that it has become a symbol of China’s strength during the epidemic“. A job that has also become a sacrifice, however. “More than 30 A380 pilots spent over 300 days in quarantine in 2020-2021», Continues the carrier.

The reaction

And he, the commander But what does Jian say? He admits that the loneliness imposed by quarantine is quite a challenge, but he claims – or at least he is told – that “isolation was much more difficult for many other people during the pandemic than for the pilots.” “After each quarantine period – keep it going – we can go home and hug our families“. It went better, so to speak, to the colleagues of the Boeing 777s also of China Southern Airlines who in 2021 were isolated on average for over 170 days, over five months.

The Hong Kong case

The Chinese approach is imitated in Hong Kong, the headquarters of the historic Cathay Pacific. But in the past few weeks, the airline has been seeing one pilots mini-escape precisely because of the restrictive rules and the mandatory quarantine after each flight. And it also came under investigation by the local authorities: flight attendants returning from abroad have broken quarantine rules and are accused of triggering an Omicron variant outbreak in the city which forced to introduce further restrictions.

January 15, 2022 (change January 15, 2022 | 07:21)

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