Taiwan’s EVA Airways has fired a pilot blamed for the country’s first local coronavirus transmission in eight months.
The carrier said the unnamed pilot, a New Zealander, was responsible for the infection of a local woman, the first local case in 253 days, according to Yahoo! News. The company said in a statement that the pilot had violated public safety rules and done “serious damage to the company’s reputation and image.”
The man allegedly worked without a mask despite being reminded of the masking rule by a Taiwanese colleague who later tested positive, the airline said. The pilot, who allegedly coughed during a U.S.-bound Dec. 12 flight, has been fined $ 10,600 for failing to “truthfully” disclose his activities and contacts, according to Yahoo !.
Of the 173 people who came in contact with the infected woman, 170 have tested negative, according to Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shih-chung. The pilot is believed to have visited two department stores, among other places, but had previously said that he was unable to remember where he had been and that he had not told the authorities that he had contact with the infected local woman, reported the news committee.
Existing protocols require that any pilot arriving on the island be quarantined for three days per year. Travel abroad, a requirement that is tightened as a result of the outbreak.
Taiwan, which sealed its borders and implemented lockdown measures early in the pandemic, had registered only 776 cases of the virus and seven deaths. In each case of the virus between April and December, a handful of Taiwanese nationals had returned home and foreign nationals.