Aviation

Auckland Airport worker’s COVID infection linked to international traveller

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health has found a “clear link” to the border as the source of an Auckland Airport worker’s COVID-19 infection.

The airport worker, who cleans planes that have flown internationally from countries where COVID-19 is widespread, returned a positive test result just one day after the opening of the two-way trans-Tasman travel bubble.

In an update used earlier today, the country’s Health Ministry said the airport worker’s PCR test results showed that the whole genome sequence was “indistinguishable” from an international passenger who arrived in NZ on 10 April from Ethiopia via the United Arab Emirates.

The genome of both these cases is the variant first identified in the UK.

“We have confirmed the worker announced as a case yesterday did clean the same plane the person from Ethiopia arrived on,” NZ’s Health Ministry said.

“While there is a clear link to a known case of COVID-19, we are still investigating how the cleaner was infected.”

The airport worker, who cleans planes that have flown internationally from countries where COVID-19 is widespread, has 25 close contacts identified to date.

The seven who have been tested so far have returned negative results. One is being followed up today, and the remainder of those identified are not yet due for testing. All close contacts are self-isolating.

Of those, 17 are workplace contacts, and NZ’s Health Ministry said this number will likely increase.

“The person worked three shifts during their infectious period with a number of colleagues, and officials are working to determine who is a close contact from their interactions,” it said.

Pleasingly, NZ reported no new community cases of COVID-19 today, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is confident that the two-way trans-Tasman bubble would continue despite the positive case.


Featured image source: iStock/chameleonseye



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