Coronavirus: Cabin crew could soon be subject to 14-day quarantine

Cabin crew could soon be subject to the 14-day quarantine as well to align with Australia's protocol. 

It comes as concern continues to build among airline staff, who feel the burden of New Zealand's COVID-free future sits squarely on their shoulders.

There wasn't a single international flight in or out of the country on Monday and epidemiologists are warning as travel comes back, so will the risk. 

"Once we've achieved elimination of COVID-19 in NZ the only source of new cases is, of course, returning passengers and aircrew," said Professor Michael Baker from the University of Otago. 

Prof Baker.
Prof Baker. Photo credit: The AM Show

And while a compulsory 14-day quarantine is still in place for passengers, it's always been a different story for crew. E tū, the union for aviation, says that freedom puts too much pressure on one group.

The Ministry of Health has detailed advice for crew members on how to reduce the risk of infection depending on where they're travelling. In the most extreme cases, crew must wear personal protective equipment when moving through airport terminals, only use dedicated transport, and self-isolate in their hotels for the duration of their stay.  

And while the Ministry of Health is adamant aircrew are not the weak link at New Zealand's border, the Government is thinking about it some more.

"We are actively reviewing it at the moment," said Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

Because in Australia, international crew are required to quarantine and that matters for New Zealand's flying future and a trans-Tasman bubble may depend on it.

"We're looking to see if we can get alignment with them, that may or may not mean we require the 14 days [of] self-isolation," Dr Bloomfield said.

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