Covid-19: A worker at Auckland Airport tests positive, as well as one previous case

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According to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the Auckland Airport staff who tested positive for Covid-19 cleans planes from Covid-19-infected areas and had been completely vaccinated.

The ministry reported in a statement this afternoon that the person tested positive. It said there was also one historical case.

Speaking more than an hour later, Ardern said the border worker cleaned planes which had come from places with Covid-19 and carrying people with the coronavirus.

“A very clear link at this stage to cases that are high risk,” she said.

“The reason this person was part of our surveillance testing was because they were working in an area we consider to be high-risk. They are coming in contact with the planes that are carrying passengers from high risk countries and so that is a place where our workers, they are in the kinds of roles that means they need to be tested, they need to be vaccinated, but they also need to be thanked for the jobs that they do because of the risk that it carries.”

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They were completely vaccinated early in the campaign and were last screened on April 12 and 19. The test from yesterday yielded a positive result.

People will also get Covid-19 despite being vaccinated, according to Ardern, but they would be much less sick. The Pfizer vaccine used in New Zealand offers about 95% protection against the virus.

“So in this case it is working as intended. This is not a worker who is very unwell and yet they have Covid, so it is doing its job. It doesn’t mean people won’t get it.”

They were fully vaccinated early in the vaccination roll-out, Ardern said. She reiterated people who are vaccinated can still get Covid-19 “but they won’t get sick and they won’t die”.

“That’s what the vaccine is for – it’s to stop the pandemic becoming so dire that we see our hospitals full and people losing their lives. It means the symptom onset is greatly reduced.”

Early data showed it also reduced the likelihood the virus could be passed on to others.

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The new case occurred only one day after Australia and New Zealand began their quarantine-free travel period.

Ardern said that both countries predicted Covid-19 cases among border staff when the trans-Tasman bubble was open.

She had not yet met with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, but she expected the boundary dispute to have little impact on the bubble agreement.

Ardern said that the individual was screened on a daily basis because they served in a high-risk environment.

The ministry said in a statement that the regular procedure of isolating the case, questioning them, and tracing their connections and movements was underway.

A deserted baggage claim area at Auckland Airport's international terminal during the Covid-19 alert level 3 lockdown on 7 May 2020.

Auckland Airport. (File photo) Photo: Brett Phibbs / PhibbsVisuals

The Ministry of Health said in a statement this afternoon that the historical case was a recent returnee from Somalia through the UAE who was checked on day 12 of their stay but was deemed recovered.

There are no new cases of Covid-19 in the population today, according to the study.

With 17 prior cases recovered, the cumulative number of active cases was 86. The total number of confirmed cases was 2241.

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There have been 49 historical cases since January 1, 2021, out of a total of 425 cases.

Monday saw the processing of 3252 samples, with a seven-day rolling average of 4254.

Yesterday, two new cases of Covid-19 were registered in MIQ, both in arrivals from India before travel from that country was halted.

One was in a bubble of two previously identified cases and was moved to a quarantine centre on April 4th. According to the ministry, the other had touch with a reported case whilst in transit and was sent to a quarantine centre.

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