Auckland Airport border worker tests positive to coronavirus just a day after the trans-Tasman bubble with Australia opened
An Auckland Airport worker has tested positive to coronavirus just one day after Australians were welcomed into New Zealand without having to quarantine.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Health confirmed the infection on Tuesday and said the worker has been put into isolation as contact tracing is underway.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Covid-positive case, who is fully vaccinated against the virus, cleaned planes from high-risk countries.
The airport worker was regularly tested for Covid and their infection was found following their swab on Monday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at an airport in Wellington, New Zealand on Monday as the trans-Tasman bubble is opened
The worker’s last test before that was a week earlier on April 12.
‘This was a border worker who did work in an environment where they were coming into contact with the planes that are used to transport people from red zones. So from high-risk countries,’ Ms Ardern said.
On Monday, thousands crossed the Tasman Sea to enter New Zealand after the long-awaited end of mandatory quarantine for Australian travellers.
There were 15 flights into Auckland Airport on Monday and 17 departures.
Under the terms of the trans-Tasman bubble agreement, all states, territories and New Zealand can suspend quarantine-free travel with places that have outbreaks.
But the two nations have made assurances that small outbreaks won’t result in the bubble being closed.
Pictured: Passengers lining up to check in for Qantas flight on Monday
‘We accept that’s going to be part of our journey together. I think Australia accepts that,’ Ms Ardern said on Tuesday.
Ms Ardern has brought in a traffic light system similar to the one used in Victoria, with specific hotspots designated as ‘red zones’ – meaning people only from that area would be unable to fly.
Recent studies from the Centre for Disease Control showed the vaccines were anywhere between 59 per cent and 90 per cent effective at stopping asymptomatic transmission, despite being highly effective at preventing serious illness or death.
This means a person who is fully vaccinated can still, in some cases, catch the virus and pass it along without suffering symptoms.
Mr Ardern said the usual protocols would now kick in.
‘The contact tracing is under way and isolating close contacts,’ she said.
‘What’s really important is we knew this was someone who was tested only recently.
‘They were negative on the 12th and then their more recent test was positive. So we’ve picked them up in that routine screening which is always helpful.’
An Auckland Airport worker has tested positive to coronavirus just one day after Australians were welcomed into New Zealand without having to quarantine. Pictured: A sign welcoming travellers to New Zealand at Sydney International Airport