Coronavirus: Air New Zealand crew member tests positive

An Air New Zealand crew member has tested positive for COVID-19 during routine surveillance testing.

They returned to Auckland from Tokyo, Japan on February 28 on flight NZ90 and returned a negative COVID-19 result. But they returned a positive test result on Sunday after being tested on Saturday during routine testing.

They have been moved to Auckland's quarantine facility.

There is currently one location of interest - the Auckland Airport Countdown on March 3 between 12:07pm and 1:22pm.

Anyone who was at the store at this time is asked to monitor their health for the next 10 days, which is until March 17.

If people who visited this supermarket begin to feel unwell, they should contact Healthline on 0800 358 5454, get tested, and stay at home until a negative test result is received. A list of testing centres in Auckland is available here.

There is also one health appointment currently being assessed. Everyone who was at the clinic at the same time is being identified and will be contacted and provided specific health advice.

Dr Ben Johnston, Air New Zealand's chief medical officer, confirmed the positive case was among its air crew.

"There are significant precautions in place for our crew operating to international destinations set out by the Ministry of Health, and we are confident that our people are following the protocols diligently," he says.

"For Japan these include taking private transport to and from their hotel, isolating in the hotel while on layover and wearing PPE while travelling to and from the hotel, through the airport and on board. Aircrew are also subject to regular surveillance testing where they are tested up to once every seven days."

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 16: An Air New Zealand plane is seen at Auckland Airport on March 16, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. Air New Zealand has announced it will reduce its international capacity by 85 per cent as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic and its impact on travel demand. The airline is suspending flights between Auckland and Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Tokyo Narita, Honolulu, Denpasar and Taipei from 30 March to 30 June. It is also suspending its London–Los Angeles service from 20 March through to 30 June. Air New Zealand's Tasman and Pacific Island network capacity will significantly reduce between April and June, while domestic route capacity will be reduced by around 30 percent in April and May. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

The infected case's three household family members were tested on Sunday and their results are negative.

Fourteen other air crew on the same journey as the latest case are in the process of being contacted, isolated, and retested.

"The public health initial assessment is there is low risk to the public due to Auckland being at alert level 3 for the period in which this case was back in New Zealand and were either in isolation or at home for most of that time," the Ministry of Health says.

The ministry says the positive case was a frequent user of the COVID Tracer app, which is helping contact tracing staff identify any potential exposure events and assess any risks from their activities.

Specific advice will be given to people who are identified as contacts by public health staff about the steps they need to take.

Results from genome sequencing are expected on Tuesday, the ministry says, which will help rule out any local transmission.

A further update will be provided on Monday.

The new case comes after New Zealand marked seven days of no new community COVID-19 cases after an outbreak sent Auckland into lockdown. 

Alert level 2 restrictions came into effect for the city on Sunday morning and these will be in place until March 14 at 6am, the ministry says.