Worse Than Originally Thought: As if the story of the New Zealand pilot weren’t bad enough

Taiwan’s CDC, CECC and EVA Air have completed their investigation of the New Zealand pilot’s actions and movements.  They have given the all clear.  Based on their handling of COVID-19 thus far, public response has been positive and trusting.

(I won’t be using the term “plague rat” again because it could be interpreted as racism.  I wrote the first post under the assumption that the NZ pilot was white.  I have since learnt he is of Iranian descent.)

EVA Air announced today, two days after the story broke, that they have fired the pilot.  I suspect that had more to do with doing a thorough investigation and covering themselves legally.  I doubt they were dragging their heels or trying to keep him.  EVA Air has also been fined NT$1million (US$34,746) for failing to ensure employees followed all safety protocols.  They should sue the pilot and get the money back.

EVA Air fires pilot for contravening COVID-19 rules

EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) yesterday dismissed a New Zealand pilot — national COVID-19 infection case No. 765 — as he failed to comply with the airline’s anti-virus measures and did not fully report his contact and activity history, it said in a statement.

EVA Air said that yesterday, its discipline committee teleconferenced with the man, who is in his 60s and hospitalized for treatment.

On Friday last week, the airline asked the pilot whether he had complied with its anti-virus measures, such as wearing a mask during a Dec. 12 flight to the US, after a Taiwanese in her 30s, a copilot on the flight, said that she had contracted COVID-19 and that the pilot had not worn a mask.

[. . .]

The New Zealander had visited Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store’s Tianmu (天母) branch in Taipei between 11:30am and 12:30am on Dec. 8, Far Eastern SOGO Department Store’s Tianmu branch between 6:30pm and 7:30pm on Dec. 10, and Costco Wholesale Store’s Nankan (南崁) branch in Taoyuan between 11am and 12am on Dec. 11, the center said.

As the New Zealander failed to honestly report his contact and activity history, including not even mentioning having close contact with case No. 771, which is a breach of the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), he could be fined NT$60,000 to NT$300,000, the center said.

The pilot now claims he is a “scapegoat”, but his own actions speak volumes – refusing to tell where he went, who he was with.  He will be lucky if he is only subjected to a ten year exclusion order and not a criminal conviction.  He went to four department and warehouse stores. A Costco customer has been hospitalized with symptoms (including lost of smell).  He went to restaurants in the city.  He went to Xiangshan, one of the more popular tourist sites (easy access with an elevated view of the city).

He rode the MRT (subway) during rush hour putting everyone at risk.  He knew he had it and did this.

The CECC have fully tracked his movements, traced and tested all people he came into contact with.  As mentioned before, the government has said it’s safe to attend New Year’s eve parties, though they have cancelled a tourist event on the east coast, watching the first sunrise of the new year and set stronger mask wearing requirements for public places. I’ll probably stay home.

He’s not going to receive a warm welcome when he gets home.  New Zealanders have expressed their displeasure with him on social media, and I doubt the NZ government is going to let him off lightly.  I hope his license to fly is revoked permanently.