16 Mar 2020

Australian man with Covid-19 who flew to New Zealand says he still has no symptoms

8:52 pm on 16 March 2020

A north Queensland man quarantined in New Zealand with the Covid-19 coronavirus has defended his decision to travel overseas after being criticised on social media, saying he had "no expectation" his test results would come back positive.

LAKE SUCCESS, NY - MARCH 11: A lab technician begins semi-automated testing for COVID-19 at Northwell Health Labs on March 11, 2020 in Lake Success, New York.

Photo: AFP

Andre Reynaud, 69, has been confined to a Wellington hotel room with his wife Jane since flying into the country last Friday.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the couple said Reynaud was voluntarily tested for coronavirus in Townsville after returning from a family funeral in France.

"Given that he was completely asymptomatic he had no expectation that the result would be positive," the Reynauds said.

"On the morning of [13 March] there was no advice from authorities recommending self-isolation after overseas travel or mandatory testing for Covid-19 so, feeling fit and well, we continued on to Wellington as planned."

Reynaud's Townsville GP notified New Zealand health authorities once he had arrived in Wellington that he had tested positive.

Those authorities have said the decision to travel overseas while awaiting test results was surprising and disappointing.

Reynaud, who co-owns the Ann Roberts School of Dance, had contact with four people during his time in Townsville - his wife, daughter and two staff members.

All are now self-isolating for 14 days.

The Reynauds said staff and friends who came to their defence had been "vilely attacked" on social media.

"It is absolutely heartbreaking that they are being targeted - they are blameless," they said on Facebook.

"The simple truth of our situation is that if Andre had not voluntarily reported for testing, we would never have known he even had the virus.

"Him taking extra care has reduced the risk of community transmission, despite the unwanted attention and abuse it has brought us and our staff."

The Reynauds said they were in constant contact with New Zealand health officials and have still not displayed any symptoms of coronavirus.

"We cannot adequately express our sadness and regret for the concern this has caused," they said.

"With the benefit of hindsight, we would be quarantined in Townsville instead of being far away from family and friends."

Their Townsville dance school has been closed until further notice.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs)


Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs