Source of Air NZ Covid case revealed

The Air NZ crew member tested positive again yesterday after returning from China. Photo: ODT files
The Air NZ crew member tested positive again yesterday after returning from China. Photo: ODT files
The Ministry of Health says it appears an Air New Zealand crew member caught Covid-19 while overseas.

One new case in managed isolation has also been reported today, the ministry said in a statement this afternoon.

The cabin crew member tested positive in Shanghai on Sunday, and was re-tested when they returned to New Zealand yesterday.

"Results of genome sequencing show that the lineage of this infection is not associated with any New Zealand cases that have been sequenced, indicating international exposure is most likely," the ministry said.

The crew returned from Shanghai on a cargo-only flight yesterday morning. All crew wore personal protective equipment and are being monitored, isolated and tested.

"Further test samples from close contacts of the staff member have been processed rapidly and nine results have been returned, all of which are negative."

The ministry said because the case was first reported in China, it is officially a case in China, not New Zealand.

"So while we are reporting on it, it does not enter into our official count of Covid-19 cases."

The ministry said it continued to investigate how this most recent confirmed case was contracted.

"Although the source of the infection is still unknown, we are continuing to take precautionary actions within New Zealand."

Auckland Regional Public Health Service is continuing to identify any locations of interest the case may have visited and any associated close contacts. Twelve close contacts have been identified to date.

*The ministry would like to correct yesterday’s statement. At that time, there were 10 close contacts in self isolation or managed isolation. Another potential close contact was being investigated."

The Air New Zealand crew member visited six shops on Friday and Saturday last week.

Among them was Animates Manukau, where shoppers who were there at the same time have been told to get tested and self-isolate until they return a negative test.

It said fewer than 10 people scanned into the business in the 50-minute window when the Air NZ staffer was in the store.

The ministry said it has sent out sent out six push notifications through the NZ COVID Tracer app for locations of interest that were visited by the Air New Zealand worker.

"As at 10am today, 96 app users have received contact alerts from these notifications. This case reinforces the importance of our shared vigilance against Covid-19, and the measures we all need to take to stop the spread of the virus."


The Ministry of Health said there is one new case of Covid-19 to report in managed isolation in New Zealand today and no new community cases.

The latest case arrived on November 14 from the United Kingdom via the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. They tested positive at routine testing around day 12 of their stay in managed isolation and have been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility.

There are 60 active cases of the coronavirus in New Zealand and the total number of confirmed cases is 1684.

Yesterday, laboratories completed 9083 tests for Covid-19, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 1,252,601.








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