EVA Air Fires Pilot Who Caused Taiwan Coronavirus Outbreak

Filed Under: EVA Air

Up until this week, Taiwan hadn’t reported a single local coronavirus case in over 250 days, with the last case having been in April. One case every 250 days, 250,000 cases every day, same difference, right? 😉

Unfortunately Taiwan’s streak has come to an end, after a pilot tested positive for coronavirus, and ended up infecting others. This situation has also cost him his job.

EVA Air pilot tests positive for coronavirus

An ex-pat EVA Air Cargo captain from New Zealand recently tested positive for coronavirus, which is the 765th case that Taiwan has recorded. The man had worked a roundtrip flight from Taiwan to the United States from November 29 through December 4, 2020.

Upon returning to Taiwan he was supposed to quarantine at home for three days, which would have been from December 4-7, 2020. Then on December 12-15 he worked another trip.

On December 20 he tested positive for coronavirus. It’s believed (based on the people that he infected) that he got coronavirus on that first US trip in late November and early December, so it’s interesting that he tested positive a full 17 days after returning.

EVA Air pilot gets fired & fined

The Kiwi captain responsible for Taiwan’s new coronavirus cases has been fired and fined. The reason? Because he didn’t provide timely and comprehensive information during the contact tracing process following his infection:

  • He claimed he didn’t remember his movements after his three day self-quarantine
  • He failed to mention that he had been in close contact with a Taiwanese woman December 7-12, 2020, and she tested positive for coronavirus on December 22
  • He didn’t properly report on the places he had traveled to or visited
  • When he worked his second trip he didn’t properly report on his health condition, and he was coughing on the trip; his co-pilots asked him to put on a mask, but he didn’t, and he ended up infecting them with coronavirus as well
  • It’s said that his lack of cooperation hampered authorities’ ability to take timely control measures, and that this increased the risk of the virus spreading to more people
  • The places that the man visited have closed so that they can be thoroughly disinfected

EVA Air’s disciplinary committee met today and decided that the captain should lose his job for two reasons:

  • Violating the company’s virus prevention rules
  • Causing serious damage to the airline’s reputation and image

Bottom line

EVA Air is firing a cargo pilot who caused Taiwan’s first local coronavirus cases in over eight months. The issue isn’t that he got coronavirus as such, but rather that he failed to report where he had been for the purposes of contact tracing, didn’t follow mask protocols, and didn’t accurately report on his health condition, causing him to infect others.

You’d think someone with ties to New Zealand and Taiwan would know better, but it seems not… I can’t say EVA Air is out of line here.

What do you think — is it fair of EVA Air to fire a pilot over this incident?

Comments
  1. EVA’s board is not unlike authoritarian China where you can get punished for even the smallest thing. Ironic for this to come from a country that absolutely loathes the CCP.

  2. “He claimed he didn’t remember his movements after his three day self-quarantine”

    Dude definitely hit up some of Taiwan’s finest massage salons.

  3. Taiwanese government needs to lock him up till he fully cooperate so contact tracers can make sure they get everyone whom he came into contact with quarantined. This is the case where one bad apple can spoiled the whole cart!

    Truth of the matter is that quarantine for 14 days is still not enough. There has been cases that even with a neg covid test within three days of flight and then quarantine at destination for two weeks, one can still be tested positive after 14 days. Makes you wonder should the quarantine time be extended….

  4. The guy should be fired. EVA did the right thing and as a private company, they have the prerogative to.

    He was responsible for detailing his activities, whereabouts, and even the most basic function: where a mask in the cockpit along with his fellow pilots. The guy didn’t comply with any of those things. Yet he is to be entrusted with the lives of passengers and enforce the rules on the plane.

    This guy is a walking example of what can go wrong, and he fulfilled his role perfectly. His termination is a justified response to the (in)actions he took that then infected more people.

    The fact he:
    1) refused to wear a mask in the cockpit, despite company policy and the other pilots asking him to do so, and infected two other pilots.
    2) claimed he didn’t remember his movements after his three day self-quarantine that hampered contact tracing efforts
    3) failed to mention that he had been in close contact with a Taiwanese woman and she is now also positive for coronavirus
    4) didn’t properly report on the places he had traveled to, or on his health condition
    5) increased the risk of the virus spreading to more people through his obfuscation and lack of cooperation

    Losing his job over his clearly proactive attempts to get around coronavirus protocols is what was deserved.

  5. If he was in NZ he would have also broken their rules too.
    @kevin in Australia we test on day 4 AND day 10. Many instances of people testing negative before they leave and positive once in Australia.
    Expats in Singapore who have broken the rules, have their EP confiscated and have 24 hours to leave the country. Their companies are also impacted and I believe in the most extreme cases told no new EPs (or equivalent work permits) for a number of years.
    Again as an expat you are a guest in the country so follow the rules.

  6. Hi Lucky — some clarifications to the timeline here. It appears that this pilot didn’t just become positive/infectious on December 20. He was likely positive much earlier, but lab-confirmed only after the contact tracers found him. According to Taiwan’s CDC, he most likely caught the virus in the US between Nov 29 – and Dec 04, became symptomatic, and later infected his local contact between Dec 07 and 12, when he was roaming around Taipei after a shortened quarantine. He then flew to the US again, from Dec. 12 to 15, when he presumably infected two copilots in the cockpit. Local news report said one of his copilots asked him to put on a mask, because he was coughing, but he ignored the request. So that’s three strikes: failure to report symptoms to health authorities and his company; failure to wear a mask inflight (and inflected his colleagues); and failure to cooperate with contact tracers truthfully.

  7. great finally the importance of the group trumps that of individuals, especially in cases that could affect the whole. this has long been one of the core values of traditional chinese culture.

  8. I totally agree with Taiwan authorities hear the way to control COVID is either like this ( Wuhan style) the strictest measure to prevent COVID at all, if your not going to that you are wasting people time and the economy because it will hit again and again, so just institute common sense measure like strict mask wearing and social distance but lockdowns and “red zones” are a waste and ineffective. Fauci CDC et al agree with me but out politicians….

  9. What a j*rk. Getting hired is of course but he needs to be penalized for his actions to spread the virus. I don’t know Taiwanese laws but he could be tried in some countries.

    Regarding the incubation period of covid 19 there is not a scientific proof that 100% of the cases can be tested within 14days. Earlier studies showed that 99% would be revealed within 14 days but no more systematic studies were done anymore because the virus was wide spread and the medical community moved on to vaccine and treatment rather than incubation period because it was not important anymore for most countries. However if you look at the two countries that had 21 day quarantine rules then it is not uncommon to see positive cases after 14 days.

  10. Good!!! Can we please have some more?

    A little jail time would do him some good. And the idiot should have his pilot’s license revoked, too.

    It’s called personal responsibility. Rarely seen here in the USofA where we love our freedumb so much.

  11. Totally fair game he is fired. With him living in Taiwan, you would think he had already heard of people before him being publicly named and shamed for hiding facts about their movements after testing positive, and therefore he would have known better.

    I expect the three day self-quarantine for pilots will be revisited by Taiwan now.

  12. Good. Enough of this me me me culture. If you’r lucky enough to be living in Taiwan during COVID then you really should be respecting the rules and regulations.

  13. My parents, who live in Taiwan, observe frequently that white people have A LOT more privilege over people with color (Taiwan’s own citizens included). Under the pandemic, this means that everyone else is subject to strict testing / quarantine / fine, but visitors from Australia, New Zealand, etc tend to get more leeway. Government officials have been reported saying that they are unable to apply enforcement to foreigners, although they absolutely do to Chinese and Indonesians. It’s a serious matter of racism, though a different flavor than the US where people in power enjoy the most privilege.

    I suspect that the general lax treatment for pale skinned people contributed to this happening. It’s a shame that the government has done so well overall but let a small number of people loose. And yes kudos to EVA for taking action that I dare say most people in that society support wholeheartedly.

  14. Interesting that he was found by Taiwan’s uniquely effective contact tracing regime. Only Taiwan and Korea have a good casenumber/death record without economic devastation from lockdowns. The specific thing they did is Test Trace Isolate. TTI is how Taiwan prevented death, prevented illness, prevented economic disaster.

    If this guy were American, Canadian, British, German, Italian, working for an airline based in Europe or The Americas, would he have been contacted by contact tracers, early enough to do any good? I live in a rich country and we don’t have proper contact tracing. Does yours?

    The reason a government keeps everyone away from each other by closing businesses, is because nobody knows who is infected and they’ve given up trying to know (or they never tried). In Taiwan they never gave up trying and the result is they know, or nearly know, nearly all the time. Access to testing is easy, unbelievably fast and cheap. Official response to a positive result is intelligent and nonscary to the afflicted, so they don’t avoid testing. The numbers speak for themselves.

    Universal maskwearing is 10% of an effective strategy, not 90%. On Facebook, I can’t even type that sentence. Before you denigrate people who criticize mask hysteria, learn how the most successful countries actually succeeded. If Taiwan had relied on masks and lockdowns only, they’d be an island of corpses.

  15. Also he was covering up bc his wife is in Japan and he had 2+ mistresses in Taiwan. Mistress 2 was the person he infected locally.

  16. It’s absurd how people are ok with endangering lives selfishly. Personally I view firing isn’t enough. He needs to be sentenced to imprisonment or be fined or something. People should realize mask wearing is important and to not wear one is to create disastrous consequences for both yourself and others. It’s great that Taiwan was able to hunt him down and EVA was able to punish him at least.

    In the US contact tracing is essentially useless because there are no quarantine mandates or anything and some people like this man choose to behave irresponsibly for their self-centered interests which is a threat to public safety.

    Also Lucky, I love OMAAT and this blog…have been looking on this site daily for airline info. My fav airlines are Qatar Airways, Virgin Atlantic, ANA, Korean Air, EVA, Air France, Ethiopian, Turkish, Delta, Hawaiian, Southwest, LATAM, Avianca, Fiji Airways, and ANZ.

  17. And I just got an email from NZ Immigration that my visa can be revoked if I happen not to comply with NZ Covid regulations.

    And this dude, also a migrant? “Refused to take on a mask”… Great to see that meanwhile NZ authorities are expecting everyone to record movements, wear masks at designated places etc., NZers turn into careless, selfish maggots as soon as not in their own country. Good to go back to a milk farm in the NZ desolation then he can jeopardize his own country’s efforts in containing this cr*p.

  18. @Lucky – also worth mentioning he has been fined 300,000 NTD (a bit more than $10,000 USD) by the government and needs to pay up within 7 days.

    This guy got exactly what he deserved for his totally selfish behavior. They should deport him too, practically all of Taiwan hates the guy at the moment.

  19. Of course he should be fired; probably sent to prison as well. He’s deceitful, arrogant and criminally negligent. Probably part of the unpleasant clique of pilots who believe they’re God’s gift to humankind and therefore exempt from the accepted rules and responsibilities.

  20. What a piece of garbage this guy is. He is coughing on the flight deck and they ask him to put a mask on and he refuses? They should make an example of this guy.

  21. @Bill – Pilots don’t wear masks for safety reasons. This is standard across pretty much all airlines. Pilot flying an aicraft while wearing a mask would pose far more danger than those two infections that will most likely only require few days at home.

  22. No he got fired for being an ASSHOLE! And don’t let the door hit you in the ass as you leave! They should call in Lieutenant Aldo Raine to properly mark his forehead so all the other airlines can be properly warned in his interview!

  23. Interesting that he gets so trashed here in the comments. Seems like the Taiwanese claim that he didn’t fully cooperate with the investigation. Forgetting whereabouts and not cooperating are very flexible terms.

    Did anyone consider that he is being made a scapegoat? He broke their streak and now someone has to be responsible.

  24. This is the reason why Taiwan is one of the few places that didn’t suffer from Wuhan pneumonia. Practically, only Taiwan and Singapore are the two countries where the contact tracing regime works. Anywhere else (including South Korea, Japan, not to mention USA/EU) there are simply too many cases for contract tracing to work. In essence, there are simply too many infected people to determine where a single person got wuhan pneumonia from. Then the only effective method is lockdowns.

  25. @GW
    With the exception of pro-Peking medias in Hongkong, both Taiwan and Hong Kong use, until today, Wuhan Pneumonia/Wuhan Virus as everyday language by the people.

    There is some leftist American friends of me don’t understand that and even go as far as to criticize us (while the name Wuhan Pneumonia was taken off in a coincidence with China’s attempt to claim that the virus isn’t originated from China)

    I always reply these friends, Measles is still called in these two places, German Measles.

    Athlete’s foot is still called in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Foot.

  26. Lol lots of uneducated people posting here. This guy should be in jail, he is actively lying about his activities, and now they cant actively warn people that have been in contact with him.

  27. @Jan: seems appropriate “Nobody” says “nothing”. Therefore it is logical OMAAT posters are appalled by his behavior. Only an idiot wouldn’t.

  28. Lol see how many wonderful comments. When mainland china does the same thing, it’s evil. Lol the double standard ‍♂️

  29. Oh the irony of it all!
    Evas hero pilot out and about with his Taiwanese mistress whilst infected with the Rona and then it all comes crashing down and he ends up losing job
    Question is how many more out there are doing similar and flouting their responsibilities.

  30. @Alex
    The CDC official in charge of the Coronavirus task force spoke up in the morning news today, 24 December. Th pilot was interviewed by the health official after tested positive, a customary procedure for the purpose of contact tracing. The pilot claimed he was alone the entire time and got around town with the rental car. The former was not true as we all know by now, neither was the latter as he conveniently forgot he also took the subway. It took additional police investigation to reveal the connection between these two cases. In the meantime, the health official identified 167 people who came in contact with the local case and they are under quarantine.

  31. @Jkjkjk – I think China does get bashed by the media too much. However with such a lack of free press, it is hardly surprising that it is hard to trust what China says or what is written in the Chinese media. According to the press freedom index China ranks with 177 pretty much at the bottom and Taiwan ranks with 43 pretty near the top. One of the core attributes to a good friendship is trust and since the western world trusts Taiwan more than China, as a consequence, they are more friendly towards it too.
    So yes if this pilot was based in China, the first thoughts would no doubt be, is it true what he did or not?
    I am not saying the Chinese system doesn’t work or is bad per se – It has its reasons and advantages for doing things the way it does. But just you can’t expect the Western world to be so friendly towards it, if the trust isn’t there.

    Also in Taiwan, we should still hear the pilot’s side of the story, if he ever releases some kind of statement.

  32. @Jkjkjk

    In China, there is no free press. Look at the doctor who first warned about COVID 19 (who later died to COVID 19). If you don’t have any credible press, then everything China puts out can only be taken with a huge grain of salt.

    Had this occurred in China, I doubt the kiwi pilot would’ve gotten away with just a fine and loss of job. He’d probably find himself in prison (after a kangaroo court deems it so, of course. Still gotta keep up appearances).

  33. @stuart and @david
    If i ran a country, i would run it like Lee Kuan Yew with corporal punishment (even for petty crimes for repeat literring or jaywalking or vandalism chargesj). Chinese laws are not harsh enough to be honest… if what hongkies did happened in Singapore under lee kuan yew? Those 12 youth will see lashes of rattan which I fully support… you people in aviation like SQ or changi so much, this is how they can have them strong authoritarian rule.

  34. @EK
    Lol that the best you can come up with? Try go to Singapore and spray paint public properties like the hongkies. I dare you.

  35. The blame is not o the pilot for contracting the disease .. that cannot be faulted .. anyone can contract the disease ..

    The blame is that he lied! – and he lied his ass off .. I don’t know – but presumably the woman he gave the virus to was not his wife and that’s why he lied about who he had been with .. And he “couldn’t remember where he had been and who he had been with” ..

    Just saying – most women I *have sex with* – I remember.. I cannot think of any one of them I “forgot about” after 2 days..

    The guy is a lying, cheating, douchebag – but worse – he introduced a life-destroying plague into a country that had previously held it at bay. Taiwan had gone over 250 days without any local transfer – but this useless dicknut that couldn’t keep his [email protected]#$ in his pants threatened more than 23 million people? He has been named a public enemy by more than one newspaper in Taiwan – and I’m not sure that I disagree.

  36. @Jkjkjk – I am not quite sure I follow your point with your hypothesises around if this pilot had been in all these different countries. He was in Taiwan not China, Hong Kong or Singapore, so the comments here are understandably related to him being in Taiwan.

    LKY is highly respected internationally for how he built up Singapore. When SIA pilots wanted to strike back in the 80s, LKY threatened to sack them all, which promptly stopped the strike. If you step out of line or insult Singapore publicly as an expat (pilot or not) your employment pass will be invalid quickly. However, strict rules against crime is another matter to trusting the government. LKY also defended the prime minister being paid the highest salary worldwide as a way to keep corruption down and whether that is the main reason or not, the Singaporean government is on the whole trusted.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reminder: OMAAT comments are changing soon. Register here to save your space.