An Auckland Airport worker who has tested positive for COVID-19 in mandated weekly testing will not cause the trans-Tasman bubble to come to an end.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she doesn’t anticipate a pop to the trans-Tasman bubble despite an Auckland Airport worker testing positive to COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health announced the new community case on Tuesday afternoon (NZST), just a day after New Zealand dropped quarantine requirements for Australian travellers.
What’s going on?
Ms Ardern said the person was a cleaner on “red zone” flights from high-risk countries.
The person received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and tested positive as part of mandated weekly testing for Kiwi border workers.
Ms Ardern said it shouldn’t impact trans-Tasman travel arrangements.
“These are the kind of scenarios where we would anticipate movement continuing,” she said.
“Our Minister of Health has kept in touch with his counterpart. They’re directly communicating and so are our officials.”
Under the terms of the trans-Tasman bubble agreement, Australian states and territories and New Zealand can suspend quarantine-free travel with places that have outbreaks.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said the panel charged with decision-making around COVID-19 had confidence in NZ’s management of the virus.
“The advice I have from the Chief Medical Officer who had been in a meeting with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee today is that they’re watching New Zealand, but they have high confidence that New Zealand has this in train,” he said.
“We’ve seen them deal with the inevitable outbreaks and there will be other days when there are cases in Australia.
“We know how to deal with this. New Zealand knows how to deal with this.”
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt
“We entirely expect that people who are vaccinated will still get COVID-19,” she said. “It just means that they won’t get sick and they won’t die. That’s what the vaccine is for.
“The vaccine is 95 per cent effective at reducing symptomatic onset of COVID-19 … it doesn’t mean people won’t get it.”
Ms Ardern also said a vaccinated person with COVID-19 was less likely to spread it in the community.
“One of the things we’re seeing in the early data is it reduces down the likelihood you pass it on to others.”
New Zealand health authorities spent Tuesday interviewing the person, identifying 16 close contacts and three places of interest – all retail centres in Auckland.
The person’s five household contacts have all been tested, and have all returned negative results.
Monday saw thousands cross the Tasman Sea and enter New Zealand after the long-awaited end of mandatory quarantine for Australian travellers.
After almost 400 days, friends and family were reunited in airport arrivals lounges up and down New Zealand and in Australia.
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