Contact tracing is underway after a man who flew from Melbourne to Darwin on a Jetstar flight tested positive to the coronavirus.
Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles confirmed the ‘complex case’ at a press conference on Friday.
She said the man was on a Jetstar flight at the time of his diagnosis.
He was travelling with his family, who were approved to fly interstate to receive ‘essential medical care’ in Victoria.
They returned on flight JQ 678, which departed Melbourne at 9.15am and arrived at Darwin at 1.10pm.
It was the only Jetstar flight on the Melbourne-Darwin route on Friday.
The man who tested positive to the coronavirus flew into the Darwin Airport (pictured, left) from Melbourne on Friday. Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles (pictured, right) said the man received his COVID-19 positive diagnosis mid-flight
The man returned on flight JQ 678, which departed Melbourne at 9.15am and arrived at Darwin at 1.10pm
The man’s case takes the number of COVID-19 infections in the Northern Territory to 33. They are all related to international or interstate travel.
‘This person and their family had been approved to return to the Northern Territory after receiving that essential medical care, and were to come in and undertake quarantine [at Howard Springs],’ Ms Fyles said at the press conference.
‘At no point were these people just returning and simply going back into our community.
‘So [it’s] a complex case. Not someone that has chosen to go away for holidays, but someone that had to travel interstate and unfortunately now has been diagnosed with coronavirus.’
Ms Fyles said the man was now in isolation at Royal Darwin Hospital.
Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the man who tested positive to COVID-19 mid-flight to Darwin was now in isolation at Royal Darwin Hospital (pictured)
He and his family were wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) while on the flight.
They were asymptomatic and tested in Melbourne prior to boarding flight, Ms Fyles said.
Contact tracers are now working to identify passengers sitting within two rows of the man, with a number of others being placed into quarantine at Howard Springs.
‘Anyone on the plane is able to come forward and be tested,’ she said.
‘We remind them – please watch for their health. Any symptoms, please isolate and reach out.’
All arrivals into the Northern Territory from declared COVID-19 hotspots are required to quarantine for two weeks at their own expense at a government approved facility.
People flying into Darwin from hotspots including Victoria, Greater Sydney, Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Port Stephens and Euobodalla Shire are required to quarantine for 14 days. Pictured: Passengers queuing to check in for flights to Queensland at Sydney Domestic Airport
These hotspots include Victoria, Greater Sydney, Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Port Stephens and Euobodalla Shire.
‘To reassure the community, all the precautions had taken place. We have through the coronavirus seen situations where families haven’t been able to catch up with loved ones, people have passed away and one of the aspects is people receiving medical care,’ she said.
‘Some people have chosen not to travel – other people we have been able to care for here.
‘But for some people they’ve still had to travel and, unfortunately, now this family that had to care for a loved one that had serious medical treatment interstate have now got a family member with coronavirus so we do respect their privacy and wish them well.’
All arrivals into the Northern Territory from declared COVID-19 hotspots are required to quarantine for two weeks at their own expense at a government approved facility. Pictured: Inside a Darwin quarantine facility a couple from the Diamond Princess were being held in
Meanwhile, three men and a woman are in isolation in Alice Springs as authorities investigate whether they arrived in the Northern Territory from a coronavirus hotspot.
The men – aged 26, 27 and 29 – and a 28-year-old woman travelled to the Northern Territory by road, passing through a control point on the Territory-Queensland border on Monday.
Police said information received from a member of the public indicated the three men may have travelled from a declared COVID-19 hotspot in the previous 14 days.
The four people are being held in quarantine while three other people they had close contact with have also been placed in isolation.