Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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April airport case update – Ministry of Health

Following interviews with the person who has yesterday returned a positive test for COVID-19, the Ministry of Health 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.

The person has been tested weekly for COVID-19 as part of routine surveillance testing. They were tested on Monday at their workplace as part of this, and that test came back as 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. Five household contacts have been tested and have returned negative results. Close contacts from the person’s workplace are being identified, isolated and tested.

So far, MoH 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.

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

The Ministry’s assessment, based on what we know so far, is that 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. 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.

The PCR test from this case has been sent for whole genome sequencing – the Ministry expects to be able to provide an update on this result later today. The results of the whole genome sequencing will help provide information on how the person became infected with COVID-19.

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