Warning for Qantas crew members who may have had contact with NZ case

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 22 Apr 2021, 9:20PM
(Photo / File)
(Photo / File)

Warning for Qantas crew members who may have had contact with NZ case

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 22 Apr 2021, 9:20PM

Australian health authorities are working with Victoria-based aircrew over fears they "may have had contact" with an infected Auckland Airport employee.

The border worker tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday.

The Australian Department of Health said officials would now work with Qantas to "identify and assess" aircrew based in Victoria who could have been in contact with the infected case.

"Management of the Victorian aircrew will depend on the outcome of each crew member's risk assessment," the department said in a statement on Thursday.

"Some crew will be asked to test and quarantine for 14 days, others will be asked to test and isolate until they get a negative result."

Victorian health authorities were also contacting 520 passengers who arrived in Victoria from Auckland between April 17-20.

Anyone who travelled to Victoria from Auckland since April 17 should monitor for symptoms, isolate and get tested immediately should symptoms develop, it was advised.

Source of Covid case discovered

The source of the latest case of Covid-19 at New Zealand's border has been discovered.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told Newshub genome sequencing results show the case is linked to a passenger who arrived in the country on April 10.

He said it suggested there are no intermediaries in the case, and work is now under way to connect the cleaner with the plane the passenger arrived on.

Hipkins said all test results from close contacts and household members have so far come back negative.

Chris Hipkins told RNZ he was awaiting confirmation that the worker cleaned the plane of the most closely linked returnee.

"The match is exactly the same, it's identical, so that would suggest it's person to person [contact]," he said.

An investigation would uncover how the person picked up the virus, he said.

It was possible that with the air conditioning switched off in planes as they were cleaned, droplets from someone with Covid-19 positive could still be in the air, he said.

"The nature of a plane if the air conditioning is not going is that the air is quite stagnant. It's possible that that was still hanging in the air when someone went in to clean the plane, particularly if that happened quickly after it arrived."

Three locations of interest

The New Zealand Ministry of Health has revealed three locations of interest relating to the border worker.

The person works as a cleaner at Auckland International Airport, cleaning planes that have flown internationally from countries where Covid-19 is widespread.

The three locations of interest identified so far are:

• Westfield St Luke's Food Court, Saturday April 17, 12.15pm to 2.30pm

• Bunnings New Lynn, Saturday April 17, 2.30pm to 3.50pm

• Movenpick Dominion Rd, Saturday April 17, 5.15pm to 7.20pm

People who were at these places are considered casual contacts, and should monitor their symptoms for 14 days. If anyone develops symptoms they should stay at home, contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and get a test.

Anyone who travelled to Victoria from Auckland and visited these exposure sites during the listed dates and times would need to get tested and isolate until they got a negative result and phone the Victorian Department of Health on 1300 651 160.

- With NCA NewsWire