The cabin crew of a British Airways flight has been held in what one flight attendant has described as a “concentration camp” in Hong Kong after a colleague tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a report.
The incident — which sparked a diplomatic row between the UK and the former British colony — began when a female crew member on the flight from London was locked in a hospital room Monday at orders from Chinese officials, The Sun reported.
“She has not eaten since being on the plane and we are worried for her. They brought her only bread and water,” the woman’s friend told the outlet.
“She is locked in with CCTV watching her. She’s fuming and scared for her life. She tested positive for COVID but has a normal temperature and has no symptoms. She feels fine.”
Meanwhile, about a dozen of her colleagues from Flight BA31 were removed from their hotel room and taken to a compound that flight attendant Ellie Freeman described as “a literal concentration camp” where they have to spend 14 days under quarantine.
The pilots were not considered to be at risk and were allowed to return to London, according to the outlet.
The airline told The Sun that it was in talks with the British consulate, where diplomats have asked Chinese authorities to allow the crew to return to London and remain under lockdown in the UK.
A memo received by the pilots’ union said the “vile” compound has “dangerous electrical wiring and blocked fire escapes,” according to The Sun.
“Crew members face a mandatory COVID test on arrival. If positive, you will be confined to your hotel room for a further 14 days, with no exercise or fresh air, limited catering and WiFi that doesn’t work,” the memo reads.
Footage posted on social media by Freeman shows a tiny bathroom housing a shower head and a plastic tub for bathing.
Ellie told the news outlet that she was “so scared” after she expressed concerns online that she felt a “breakdown” was imminent.
The crew was provided with a spartan menu consisting mainly of boiled eggs, vegetables, noodles and crackers, according to the report. The airline has arranged for toiletries and pajamas to be sent to its stranded staff.
“We are in regular contact with our crew who are quarantining in line with local COVID regulations, and providing extra supplies to make their stay as comfortable as possible,” BA told The Sun.
“We work closely with governments in every country we fly to, and will always put the safety and wellbeing of our teams and customers at the heart of everything we do,” it added.
The Foreign Office said: “Our staff are in direct contact with members of a group of British Airways crew in Hong Kong, and are in touch with BA and the local authorities.”