Covid-19 coronavirus: Air NZ crew member most likely exposed to Covid while overseas; no new community Covid cases today; five in MIQ

There are five new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation today – and the border-related case reported last night will be officially added to today’s tally.

There are no new cases in the community.

Police have been called in to help search for one gymgoer yet to be tested after the Papatoetoe Covid outbreak, the Ministry of Health says in today’s update.

“One person from the gym remains outstanding and health staff are working with other agencies including police to try and contact this person,” the Ministry said.

Health officials maintain the public health risk is low from the case of an Air New Zealand crew member who tested positive because she had limited contacts.

Public health staff are speaking to them individually about what steps they need to take.

The woman has been transferred to the JetPark quarantine hotel. Everyone in her household has tested negative and all are in isolation at home.

Officials now consider the most likely scenario was the woman was exposed to Covid-19 overseas and so was either incubating – or infectious – with the virus before she was vaccinated late last week.

“The vaccine requires two doses and takes around two weeks until it begins to provide protection. The air crew member has had the first dose. The second dose is given at least 21 days after the first.

“It is not possible the crew member caught Covid-19 from this vaccine as it does not contain any live, dead or deactivated virus.

“The vaccine doesn’t cause people who have had it to test positive for Covid-19.”

The golf course the Air NZ crew member’s husband went to is not considered a place of interest because he has tested negative and so was not infectious while playing golf.

The five cases in managed isolation were people who all tested positive upon arrival in New Zealand.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 78 and the total number of confirmed cases is now 2049.

On Sunday, 3962 tests were processed.

There have been 1,433,852 scans in the past 24 hours.

Nearly 6000 contacts were required to be tested and isolate during the February outbreak, the ministry said.

“We do wish to thank all members of the community who did the right thing in order to keep the community safe.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins will speak at the 4pm post-Cabinet press conference.

The air crew member returned a positive Covid test yesterday after a swab on Saturday. She received a Covid-19 vaccination shot last week.

She spent most of her time at home last week under Auckland’s alert level 3 lockdown but she had been to the Auckland Airport Countdown last Wednesday. It is now a “location of interest”.

Anyone who was at the Auckland Airport Countdown store last Wednesday, March 3, between 12.07pm and 1.22pm is being asked to monitor their health for the next 10 days (until March 17).

If they feel unwell or develop symptoms, they should contact Healthline on 0800 358 5454 and get tested and stay at home until a negative test result is received.

The woman’s partner played golf yesterday with several friends at Remuera Golf Club but he has subsequently tested negative, along with two other household members.

The crew member arrived in Auckland on February 28 on a flight from Tokyo – 14 fellow crew members are isolating and being retested.

Ardern told TVNZ today that genome sequencing of the case was expected over the next 24 hours.

And the Ministry of Health was considering whether there needed to be more restrictions on international crew.

“We are going through a process … of whether we need to up the ante on different countries.”

Under Covid rules, air crew members are required to undergo Covid-19 testing every seven days.

All Air New Zealand air crew returning to New Zealand after flying on “higher-risk” routes need to self-isolate in a prearranged hotel for 48 hours. Los Angeles and San Francisco are currently designated as higher-risk routes. Japan is not considered a high-risk route.

Once they have returned a negative test, they can leave the hotel.

The crew member has been moved to the Auckland quarantine facility at Jet Park. The individual’s three household family members have already been tested on Sunday and the results were all negative, the Ministry of Health says.

Fourteen other air crew on the same flight as the latest case were being contacted, isolated and retested, the ministry said on Sunday night.


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