Covid-19: MOH release more details on airport case

File Image. SunLive.

The Ministry of Health has announced further details regarding the positive Covid-19 test result returned by a border worker yesterday.

A worker at Auckland Airport was confirmed to have tested positive for the disease yesterday afternoon and three locations of interest have been announced related to the case.

Following interviews with the person, the MOH believes there is a clear link to the border as the source of the infection.

“The person who has tested positive for Covid-19 works as a cleaner at Auckland International Airport, cleaning planes that have flown internationally from countries where Covid-19 is widespread,” reads a statement from MOH.

“The person has been tested weekly for Covid-19 as part of routine surveillance testing.”

The infected person was tested on Monday and the result of that test came back positive yesterday. Their previous tests were all negative.

“The person is currently isolating at home while they are being interviewed by health officials and following this they will be transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility,” says the MOH.

MOH confirms that five household contacts have been tested and have returned negative results. Close contacts from the person’s workplace are also being identified, isolated, and tested.

“So far, we have identified that the person has 16 close contacts.

“This number will likely change as further scoping of this person’s movements identifies other people they have been in close contact with.”

The person’s sole employment is at Auckland Airport and is described as a “non-public facing” role.

Additional pop up testing has been set up at Auckland Airport in addition to the testing site that is already running at the airport.

The MOH also outlined three potential locations of interest related to the positive border case.

So far, locations of interest identified are:

·        Westfield St Luke’s Food Court, Saturday, April 17 2021 12:15pm to 2:30pm

·        Bunnings New Lynn, Saturday, April 17 2021 2:30pm to 3:50pm

·        Movenpick Dominion Road, Saturday, April 17 2021 5:15pm to 7:20pm

“People who were at these places are considered casual contacts, who should monitor their health and be aware of any symptoms of Covid-19,” states the MOH, advising anyone who develops symptoms to stay at home, contact Healthline and get a test. MOH states that, based on current information, the risk to the public appears low.

“The person has been fully vaccinated, they received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine early in the vaccination campaign, in February and March,” the MOH states.

“We know the Pfizer vaccine is highly effective, but at 95 per cent effectiveness a small number may not be protected.

“Breakthrough infections happen with all vaccines. This shows us how important it is that as many New Zealanders as possible take up the offer to receive the vaccine when they are offered it and are protected.

“The more people that are vaccinated, the more protected we will all be.”

The PCR test from this case has been sent for whole genome sequencing and MOH expects to be able to provide an update on this result tomorrow.

The MOH has also thanked the worker for their response and use of the Covid tracking app.

“A final note of thanks to this person,” reads the MOH statement. “They, like many others at our border, have worked in an environment during this pandemic that has exposed them to the virus that we have collectively worked so hard to keep out.

“This person has done the right things, they have been regularly tested at their workplace, and we know they have been using the NZ Covid tracer app, with Bluetooth turned on.

“People working at our border deserve our thanks and appreciation, and our thoughts are with this person as they recover from their infection.”

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