An upsurge in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong has prompted the city’s Centre for Health Protection to require mandatory testing rules for airline crew members, leading both United Airlines and American Airlines to suspend flights to and from Hong Kong International Airport, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The new rules which were announced Tuesday, July 7, mean airline crew members arriving in the city are subject to COVID-19 testing that involved collecting “deep throat saliva specimens.” Anyone who refuses to be tested will be subjected to a fine and imprisonment.

For any crew member who tests positive, “hospital admission will be arranged as soon as possible,” the CHP said.


United’s service between Singapore and San Francisco via Hong Kong was scheduled to resume on July 8. The airline’s website now shows that flights UA 877 and UA 862 have been canceled.

American Airlines, which suspended Hong Kong service in February, was expected to restart passenger services to Hong Kong this week, canceled flight 125 due to depart Dallas/Fort Worth on Thursday. Flights between Dallas/Fort Worth and Hong Kong will remain suspended through August 5.

“We’ve been making regular adjustments to our schedule to match demand, and we consider a range of factors including travel restrictions or entry requirements in making network decisions,” a spokesperson from the US carrier said in a statement.