29 Jul 2021

Covid-19 patient from Fiji being flown to New Zealand

12:29 pm on 29 July 2021

A Covid-19 positive patient from Fiji is being flown to New Zealand today.

A deserted international arrival area at Auckland Airport while the city was in level 3 lockdown in May.

Photo: Brett Phibbs / PhibbsVisuals

The infected patient is being flown to Auckland for hospital treatment despite an earlier decision by the Ministry of Health to decline the transfer.

The medevac flight was to leave New Zealand this morning and return this afternoon.

It is reported the person involved is a high-profile staff member of an international group working in Fiji.

The Covid-19 outbreak in Fiji has claimed more than 200 lives and daily case numbers are around 1000.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson said strong protocols were in place to manage the risk of transferring the patient.

The request was initially declined for "capacity reasons" but the ministry said the situation was changeable at intensive care units at metro-Auckland DHBs.

The ministry said it was not yet confirmed which hospital would take the patient, and this would be determined by the treatment the person needed and the capacity in respective ICUs.

The Ministry of Health said approval followed agreement by metro-Auckland DHBs to treat the patient, and a transfer plan approved by a Medical Officer of Health from the Auckland Regional Public Health Service and agreed to by New Zealand Air Ambulance Service.

The DHBs are extremely busy in part due to higher than normal numbers of RSV cases and winter illness, the ministry said.

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