20 Jul 2021

More Covid-19 cases confirmed on container ship crew at Bluff port

10:22 am on 20 July 2021

Nine crew members on a container ship docked in a quarantine area of Bluff port have tested positive for Covid-19.

Bluff, Southland

File photo. Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

The Mattina came into port on Sunday night and all 21 crew were tested after two reported symptoms.

Two cases were confirmed on Monday, and the Ministry of Health said a further seven tests came back as positive on that night.

In a statement the ministry said the only local port member who had contact with the ship crew was the Southport pilot, who went aboard the ship as it entered the port as required for a vessel of this size.

The pilot wore appropriate PPE and was fully vaccinated, the statement said.

No one else had been on or off the ship since it docked.

Monday morning's testing for Covid -19 took place on the gangway area and all appropriate protocols were followed by health staff, including PPE, the ministry said.

Health officials in Southern DHB were working with other agencies to determine the next steps for the ship. In the meantime, the crew members remained on board the Mattina.

The Mattina remained in quarantine in a secure area of the port which was inaccessible to members of the public and fencing would be put up to further restrict access to the ship, the ministry said.