2500 at Te Papa when infected tourist visited

Te Papa in Wellington. Photo: NZ Herald
Te Papa in Wellington. Photo: NZ Herald
Up to 2500 people visited Te Papa around the time a Covid-infected Sydney tourist attended, the museum has revealed.

Te Papa is a location of interest in Wellington after the traveller attended the Surrealist Art exhibition between 4pm and 5.45pm on Saturday, June 19.

"People who visited any part of Te Papa between 3.05pm and 5.45pm on Saturday 19 June need to undertake testing as detailed by the Ministry of Health, the national museum said.

"An estimated 2000–2500 people would have passed through the museum during that time."

Up to 600 people were believed to have visited the Surrealist exhibition during that time.

Anyone who visited the exhibition between 4pm and 5.45pm that day is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Te Papa's chief executive has confirmed she herself is a close contact of the Sydney traveller.

Courtney Johnston is now isolating at home because she was at the Surrealist art exhibition on Saturday.

Bar opened for football match

Meanwhile, people who used toilets at a Wellington bar are being asked to quarantine for 14 days as the list of exposure sites of places visited by the infected traveller grows.

Several new locations of interest have been identified by the Ministry of Health as being visited by the Covid-positive Australian man and his partner.

Sixteen locations, mostly eateries and tourist locations, have been identified so far.

Jack Hackett's Irish Pub in Wellington was open to screen a football game early today. Photo: NZ...
Jack Hackett's Irish Pub in Wellington was open to screen a football game early today. Photo: NZ Herald
They include the toilets at 4 Kings Bar at Jack Hackett's.

Those who used the bathroom at the venue at 8.45pm on Saturday are being asked to quarantine for 14 days and get tested immediately.

The tourist also visited Highwater Eatery, Floriditas and Pickle & Pie on Saturday.

Everyone who dined at the eateries at the same time are all considered close contacts and required to isolate for 14 days and be tested immediately.

Highwater Eatery owner Rachael Stevens said it was "pretty shocking" and anticipates they will have to shut up shop for a few weeks.

"It's just hard obviously being a hospitality business and having to close your doors and cancel reservations and tell your staff not to come to work."

She said they will also lose stock that was delivered earlier this week, so financially it is difficult.

"It can affect people's mental health when they're having to isolate at home but it's for the better good."

On Sunday, the man's outings include visiting a book shop, supermarket and the Weta Cave shop.

The person spent between 9.45am - 11.37am at Weta Cave shop. Customers at the Weka St shop are considered close contacts.

He then visited the Lido cafe in Victoria St between 1pm - 2.45pm.

This was followed by a visit to Unity Books in Willis St between 1.50pm - 3.05pm.

Unity Books director Tilly Lloyd says they're hoping to get the store deep-cleaned, but it could be a long wait.

She says they got in early with the request, but there's going to be a big queue.

Staff who were working on the Sunday when the infected man visited have been sent home to self-isolate.

Meanwhile, the store remains open, and Lloyd says they're waiting for an update from the Ministry of Health before they take any further action.

He then went to Countdown Cable Lane in Lambton Quay between 6pm - 7.15pm. The Health Ministry has identified those who were at the supermarket and book shop as casual plus contacts.

The latest venue listed is One Red Dog. The man dined at the Customhouse Quay pizza and pasta restaurant bar between 7 - 9pm that night. Those who were also at the eatery are regarded as close contacts.

The manager of bar Jack Hackett's said the venue was open from early today to cater to football fans following the European Championship football games.

"We heard the news at about 9 o'clock this morning. We were open for the football so we immediately closed," Kushla Mathie said.

"We have been in contact with our cleaners and they are coming in about 11am to do a deep clean and we are just doing a pack down of all the stuff on the bar at the moment just me and another colleague who weren't here on Saturday night."

Graphic: NZ Herald
Graphic: NZ Herald
Mathie said they had been in contact with all the staff to let them know what is going on and all the staff that were working on Saturday and recommended they get themselves tested and not come back to work till they've received a negative test result.

More locations of interest are expected to be added after the first six sites were revealed - including Te Papa Tongarewa, Rydges Hotel, a chemist and a bar - that were visited by the man.

Wellington's regional public health unit said New Zealand's contact tracing team were working with their Australian counterparts to gather more information about his movements.

It expected there would be more sites added to the list across the day and urged people to keep watch for updates.

The Ministry of Health said everyone who was at Te Papa's surrealist exhibition on Saturday, June 19, from 4pm-5.45pm were considered a close contact and needed to get tested immediately and isolate for 14 days.

It also says those who were at Jack Hackett's Bar on June 19 between 8.45pm to midnight are also deemed close contacts.

Other places, including Rydges Hotel, Unichem Wellington Central Pharmacy and Te Papa Tongarewa - general, where people are considered casual plus contacts.

Casual plus contacts are people who have had exposure to a case, but who do not meet the criteria of a close contact. The ministry says those who were regarded as casual plus contacts were required to get a test around day 5 after last exposure and stay at home until a negative test result was received. They were then asked to self-monitor for Covid symptoms for 14 days.

Casual plus contacts are required to stay at home while a day five test result is pending.

The ministry says those in the Rydges Hotel have potentially been exposed to the infected traveller from midnight on June 19 to 9.10am on June 21.

The Unichem Wellington Central pharmacy is a considered a location of interest on June 19 between 10.38am to 11.48am.

Te Papa Tongarewa - general is considered a casual exposure site on June 19 from 3.05pm to 5:45pm.

But those visiting the surrealist art exhibition Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen are being placed on higher alert and considered at greatest risk.

The ministry says those in the exhibition between 4pm-5.45pm need to take urgent action and get tested.

The art exhibition is touted as the biggest international art exhibition to ever shown at Te Papa. It includes 180 works by celebrated artists including Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and Man Ray.

The ministry said extra time had been added on either side of each visit to ensure all potential contacts were reached.

A public health alert was issued last night by New South Wales Health that identified two flights as exposure sites.

They are Qantas QF 163, which in Wellington on June 19 at 12.12am and Air New Zealand flight NZ247, which departed on Monday at 10.13am.

All those on board were considered close contacts and asked to get tested and isolated for 14 days.

Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the man, who tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday afternoon, had visited "quite a number" of tourist attractions in the capital at the weekend.

Wellington Airport was offering assistance to help identify close and casual contacts, such as sharing CCTV footage.

"Most staff at Wellington Airport are fully vaccinated and all staff and passengers are required to wear a face covering while in the international terminal. The international terminal is also regularly cleaned to a high standard in line with the Ministry of Health's infection prevention protocols."

The man and his partner flew in on Friday night just after midnight and returned home Monday.

Bloomfield this morning revealed the man, who was considered infectious during his time in Wellington, developed symptoms on the flight back.

He tested positive for Covid yesterday afternoon and is considered the first Australian traveller to have brought the infection to New Zealand and returned home.

Bloomfield said health officials spoke to him last night in order to compile a list of places he had visited.

Affected businesses would be contacted before the public was notified, he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.

Air New Zealand confirmed this morning the craft's operating crew had been asked to self-isolate and get tested.

The airline's chief operational integrity and safety officer Captain David Morgan said the company was alerted last night that a passenger travelling from Wellington to Sydney on Monday had tested positive.

The aircraft was cleaned to usual standards upon arrival into Sydney and then again yesterday evening, he said.

Earlier the Ministry of Health said four close contacts had so far been identified and were now isolating.

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