11 Mar 2021

Crew member of superyacht denied entry returns weak positive result for Covid-19

12:10 pm on 11 March 2021

The captain of a superyacht denied entry to New Zealand has confirmed a crew member returned a weak positive result for Covid-19 on arrival in Fiji at the weekend.

Superyacht BOLD

Photo: YouTube

The $140 million superyacht Bold was due to arrive here for refit work in time for the America's Cup, but seven of the 23 crew were denied visas.

Captain Todd Leech told RNZ the test result was either a false positive or an historical case and the man has since returned a negative result.

"We are working with Fiji to keep everyone happy and safe," he said.

"He passed four tests since coming back to work, then passed another test after the Fiji test in question so we are confident this will be resolved well for all parties."

Fiji's Ministry of Health and Medical Services said it was treating it as an historical case of Covid-19. It said the crew member, a 44-year-old man, was unlikely infectious and "fragments of the virus remain detectable long after the virus has passed, even after previous negative tests".

The crew member had arrived in Fiji on a yacht on March 6, and its last port of call was Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and the yacht did not stop at any other island in Fiji before arriving at the quarantine mooring at Denarau.

The health authority said the man had returned a weak positive test result upon routine testing while undergoing the standard 14-day quarantine on board the vessel in the quarantine mooring.

"Therefore, this is considered a historical case of Covid-19. However, he has been transferred to the isolation ward at Lautoka hospital, and management of this case will follow our standard protocol for positive cases."

It said all onboard the yacht will complete 14 days quarantine, and return at least two negative test results before they will be released to enter Fiji.

Since the beginning of this year there have been 37 historical cases recorded in New Zealand. The Ministry of Health does not consider historic cases to be currently infectious.

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