Aviation

Health alert issued for Virgin flight after passenger tests positive to COVID-19

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Contact tracing and coronavirus testing is underway after a traveller tested positive for COVID-19 in Japan after flying into the country from Brisbane.

Queensland Health issued a Public Health Alert following the woman’s positive test result, which came a day after she flew from Brisbane to Sydney on 17 August on Virgin Australia flight VA-962.

The state health authority said the woman had arrived in Brisbane on 1 August to care for her sick father, after first quarantining in Sydney for two weeks, in mid-July, during which time she tested negative for COVID-19.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young, said a health alert had been issued for flight VA-962 and anyone who dined at Greenslopes cafe The Jam Pantry on 16 August.

“The woman arrived in Australia in mid-July and was in hotel quarantine in Sydney for two weeks prior to coming to Brisbane,” Dr Young said.

“While in quarantine, she returned two negative test results. While we are still determining where the virus may have been acquired, we are working with Japanese authorities to gather necessary information.

“We have been in touch with six close contacts in Brisbane identified by the woman. These people have been tested and are now in quarantine.”

Queensland Health said the woman was not showing any symptoms, but tested positive for the virus after arriving in Japan, adding that it remained unclear where she had contracted the virus.

Japanese health authorities advised Queensland Health of the case on Wednesday afternoon. The health authority is now working with NSW Health to contact people from flight VA-962 who have been in close contact with the case.

Virgin Australia Group Medical Officer Dr Sara Souter told Travel Weekly the airline had been notified of the passenger’s positive COVID-19 test result.

“The health and wellbeing of our passengers and crew is our number one priority, and we have since provided NSW Health with the flight manifest,” Dr Souter said.

“The risk of transmission onboard a flight remains low globally and passengers considered relevant contacts of the individual who has tested positive should be contacted by the health authority.

“As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented a wide range of health and wellbeing measures to better protect our passengers and crew when they fly.

“The measures include a pre-flight health questionnaire at the time of check-in which encourages passengers to update their contact details.

“We strongly encourage our passengers to help with contact tracing efforts by updating their contact details before they fly.”

As part of its health and wellbeing measures, Virgin Australia implemented a new pre-departure health questionnaire on 12 June. The questionnaire helps to ensure customers are fit-to-fly and assist with contact tracing efforts.


Featured image source: iStock/RyanKing999

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