Covid-19 airport case: Five household contacts test negative, three locations of interest visited

Source: 1News

There is a clear link to the border as a source of infection in a worker at Auckland Airport who today tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Ministry of Health. 

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

Five household contacts of the cleaner have been tested and have returned negative results.

Health officials have so far identified 16 close contacts, who have since been isolated and tested for Covid-19. The number is likely to change as further scoping of the person’s movements identifies other people they have been in close contact with.

So far, three locations of interest identified are:

·        Westfield St Luke’s Food Court, Saturday 17 April 2021 12:15pm to 2:30pm
·        Bunnings New Lynn, Saturday 17 April 2021 2:30pm to 3:50pm
·        Movenpick Dominion Road, Saturday 17 April 2021 5:15pm to 7:20pm

Locations of interest where people may have been at the same time as the case will be shared as they are available.

Anyone who was at the locations at the listed times have been classified as casual contacts and have been advised to monitor their health and be aware of any Covid-19 symptoms.

“If anyone develops symptoms they should stay at home, contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and get a test.

“The Ministry’s assessment, based on what we know so far, is that the risk to the public appears low.”

The person has been tested weekly for Covid-19, and had previously returned negative tests prior to today's positive test, which was carried out at their workplace yesterday.

"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," the Health Ministry said.

Their work at Auckland Airport is their sole employment, and their role is non-public facing.

Additional pop-up testing has been set up at Auckland Airport this afternoon in addition to the testing site already running at the airport.

The worker had been fully vaccinated, having received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in February and March.

“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 Health Ministry said.

The person’s PCR test has since been sent for whole genome sequencing, with an update expected on the result tomorrow. The results of the whole genome sequencing will help provide information on how the person became infected with Covid-19.

The Ministry thanked the worker who, "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."