Aviation

Trans-Tasman bubble breached in Perth, as Brisbane Airport cops its own COVID-19 scare

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

A Cook Islands traveller has managed to breach the trans-Tasman bubble in Perth and Brisbane Airport has had its own COVID-19 scare, proving mistakes are still possible despite the government’s strict border policy.

An Air New Zealand flight from Auckland landed in Perth last week carrying a Cook Island’s traveller who had not quarantined, according to Western Australia’s Department of Health.

The traveller has been transported to a Perth quarantine hotel and will undergo a COVID-19 test while in quarantine, while the rest of the passengers on the flight were allowed to disembark and were processed in the usual way.

WA Health also said the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported zero cases of COVID-19 in the Cook Islands since January and that it was unlikely the passenger carried the virus.

Air New Zealand has not responded to Travel Weekly’s request for comment, but told ABC News it was “made aware of a passenger on board NZ175 Auckland-Perth … who is ineligible for quarantine-free travel to Australia”.

“We are working with the relevant authorities on both sides of the Tasman and will follow their guidance,” the airline said.

“The next steps for this passenger will be determined by the Western Australia authorities.”

Perth only emerged from a three-day snap lockdown just last week, following a community case of COVID-19.

Today, the state’s health department reported three cases of COVID-19; however, all were returning travellers.

Meanwhile, Brisbane Airport confirmed a breach of its ‘green zone’ on Thursday after two passengers who had flown on a ‘red’ flight from Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea were mistakenly allowed into a common area.

One of the passengers has since tested positive for COVID-19, according to Queensland Health, which is advising anyone who was in the terminal between 9:45am and midday on Thursday 29 April should monitor their symptoms and get tested immediately if they feel unwell.

The states health department also urged those who visited Hudson’s Coffee stand and the adjacent seating area between the coffee stand and the white barriers between 9:53am and 11:20am on Thursday 29 April, or the male toilets adjacent to Gate 79 between 11:23am and 11:15pm on Thursday 29 April, to isolate and get tested immediately.

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) said in a statement that thorough cleaning of the area has been conducted and confirmed all workers and passengers within the green area were wearing PPE.

“BAC is conducting a thorough investigation and unreservedly apologises for this human error,” it said.

Meanwhile, Victoria is also on high alert, with more than 200 people waiting on test results following a sudden increase in viral fragments in wastewater from Melbourne’s western and northwestern suburbs.

Victoria’s department of health said the 246 people who were tested were either primary or close contacts linked to a positive case on flight Qf778 from Perth to Melbourne on 23 April.

So far, only negative results have been reported.

Victoria also reported three new cases today, all of which were returned travellers in quarantine.


Featured image source: iStock/XiFotos

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