23 Jun 2021

Covid-19: Michael Baker on Sydney travelling case

From Morning Report, 6:42 am on 23 June 2021

An Australian traveller from Sydney, who visited Wellington from Saturday 19 June until Monday 21 June, has tested positive for COVID-19 upon their return to Australia.

Late on Tuesday night, New South Wales Health issued an alert identifying passengers on two flights between Sydney and Wellington as close contacts of at least one case of Covid-19.

The flights were Qantas QF-163, which left Sydney on Friday the 18th June and landed in Wellington just after midnight on Saturday 9 June and Air New Zealand NZ-247, which left Wellington on the morning of Monday 21 June.

Based on the time of their symptom onset and CT score it is most likely they contracted the virus in Sydney prior to their visit to New Zealand.

This is the first time an Australian traveller has brought COVID-19 to NZ, and since gone home.

Genome sequencing is underway in Australia to see if the case is linked to the current outbreak in Sydney.

New Zealand authorities were notified by their Australian counterparts last night and will be contacting the case's close contacts and getting further information about their movements while in Wellington.

At this stage four close contacts have been identified and are isolating.

Sites of interest that were visited will be advised as further contact tracing is undertaken.

People who have been at these sites will need to isolate and should contact Healthline for further advice.

Epidemiologist Michael Baker spoke to Corin Dann.