Coronavirus: Auckland Airport staffer tests positive for COVID-19

A worker at Auckland Airport has tested positive for COVID-19, the Ministry of Health has revealed.

They have been isolated, and will be interviewed by health officials to determine their contacts and movements. More information will be released on Tuesday, the ministry says, and the case will be included in Wednesday's figures.

What we know:

  • An Auckland Airport plane cleaner tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.
  • They are fully vaccinated and being interviewed by health officials, who are carrying out rapid contact-tracing.
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the case won't have an effect on the quarantine-free trans-Tasman bubble, which opened on Monday.
  • It marks the fourth border case this month, after three Grand Millennium workers tested positive.

These live updates are now finished.

3pm - New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she would "certainly hope" the new border case doesn't mark an end to the trans-Tasman bubble.

"I would like to think that a case or two which is manageable should not impede any of our progress we are making in opening up."

2:57pm - The Prime Minister denies it's another instance of a leaky border.

She says she wouldn't characterise it that way since it's a case of someone cleaning a plane which had carried people with COVID-19.

"We have seen cases before which demonstrate how tricky this is. That's why we have these protocols."

Ardern says a case investigation is being carried out, and the worker's test sample being genome-sequenced.

And with that, the press conference is finished.

2:55pm - Ardern points out the vaccine is 95 percent effective at reducing symptomatic onset of COVID-19 - so it's still possible to get it, but you won't get nearly as sick.

"The vaccine is doing its job, but doesn't mean people won't get it," she said.

She reiterates the worker was vaccinated early on in the rollout, and would be considered fully vaccinated.

"We expect people who are vaccinate will still get COVID-19, but won't get sick or die. That is what the vaccine is for... The vaccine is saving lives."

She says symptom onset is greatly reduced after getting the vaccine, and early data suggests it reduces the chances of passing on to others and protects workers from hospitalisations.

2:52pm - Asked for an update on the ban on Indian travellers announced earlier this month, Ardern said there would be no further announcement until closer to April 28 - the date when it's expected to come to an end.

She says the Government is considering a range of options to reduce the risk posed by the arrival of travellers from high-risk nations like India.

2:50pm - The Prime Minister says the usual processes kicked in upon discovery of the border case, with contact tracing and isolating happening.

She says Auckland Airport is a place where workers need to be tested, vaccinated and thanked for the job where they do.

2:47pm - Ardern is yet to speak to her Australian counterpart, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, about the new border case.

However she says her Health Minister is in contact with the Australian Health Minister.

"These are the kinds of scenarios where we would anticipate movement continuing," she said.

2:45pm - She says when the trans-Tasman bubble opened, everyone involved knew there would be cases connected to border.

She points out that when she announced the bubble was coming into effect, Queensland was dealing with cases linked to border.

Ardern says New Zealand and Australia both accept new cases "will be part of our journey together".

2:42pm - The Prime Minister confirms the worker was fully vaccinated early on in the COVID-19 immunisation campaign.

As part of the routine testing regime of those on the frontline, they were tested on April 12 and 19, with the most recent test picking up the infection.

Ardern says the Government's protocols are working as intended.

2:39pm - Ardern says the staffer is someone who came into contact with planes from high-risk countries. They are an individual who boards planes to clean them, she says.

2:37pm - Jacinda Ardern has arrived and is ready to take questions from reporters. More details on what she says to follow shortly.

2:31pm - And we're back! The Prime Minister is yet to arrive at the stand-up - looks like we spoke too soon about her running ahead of schedule.

2:29pm - Looks like we're having a few issues with our livestream. We're working on a fix and hope it'll be fixed shortly.

Prime Minister Ardern has not started speaking yet.

2:25pm - News of the border case has just broken in Australia. Multiple media outlets are running breaking news articles, noting the case has emerged just a day after the travel bubble with Australia began.

2:20pm - The Prime Minister appears to be running ahead of schedule. She is expected to begin speaking to media imminently.

2:10pm - In about 20 minutes, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will be asked about the new case a media stand-up from Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae in Mangere, Auckland - just 6km from the airport.

2pm - The infection of the Auckland Airport worker marks the fourth border case this month, after a trio of Grand Millennium staff members returned positive tests for coronavirus.

It also comes just a day after Auckland Airport welcomed the first non-New Zealand residents onto our shores in over a year, with the newly formed trans-Tasman bubble allowing Kiwis and Australians to travel between the two nations without quarantining for the first time.

It's not known what impact the new case will have on the bubble.

1:50pm - In addition to the border case, there is also a historical case - a recent returnee from Somalia who arrived in New Zealand via the United Arab Emirates on March 28, and is now considered recovered.

For the 51st day in a row, no new community cases have been detected in New Zealand. Our last community case was a household member of a Papatoetoe High School student who tested positive for COVID-19 on February 28.

There are 86 active cases in New Zealand, with another 17 cases having recovered on Tuesday. The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 2241.