New Zealand’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout is three percent ahead of schedule, except in Northland where a huge push to use available vaccines is ongoing.
People arriving in New Zealand from Brisbane are required to monitor their health for the next 14 days following a green zone breach reported at Brisbane Airport.
The incident took place at the Hudson Cafe where two people from the red zone country were at the cafe along with green zone passengers.
The Queensland Health Authority said the couple had transited from a flight from Papua New Guinea and had been inadvertently directed to the terminal’s green departure zone.
“They were in the green zone for about two hours with other passengers leaving for New Zealand,” said a statement.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Health said the risk was low.
New Zealand health officials understand the two red zone passengers returned negative Covid-19 tests before they left PNG.
Queensland Health told the ministry that the passengers had been wearing masks, kept their distance and were not showing symptoms.
The second test of swabs taken yesterday showed a weak positive for one test and negative for the other.
Papua New Guinea was last week considered a “very high risk” country by the New Zealand Government; meaning that only citizens and their immediate family can return here.
The island nation has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases recently; with the official number stands at 10,915 cases and 107 deaths like last night.
The three flights affected were NZ202 from Brisbane to Christchurch yesterday, NZ146 which landed in Auckland and Qantas flight 135 which arrived in Christchurch.
Passengers on all three flights have been informed of potential violations and given advice on monitoring their health over the next two weeks, the ministry said.
In a statement, the Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) issued an apology saying the violation was “due to human error”.
“At around 9.30am, two transit passengers arrived on the ‘red’ flight from Port Moresby and proceeded to check for transit like a normal process.
A preliminary view of CCTV showed that red zone passengers were allowed into the green zone at 9:55 am, spending less than two hours there before they were found by Brisbane Airport staff and returned to the red zone.
“Passengers sit at retail outlets in the green zone until around 11:20 am.”
Hundreds of passengers are on flights to NZ, but only a few are in the same area
The passengers had also visited the bathroom and gone to other retail stores before they were found by airport staff and returned to the red zone area of the terminal.
BAC said all workers and passengers in green areas were wearing PPE and all areas of interest had been thoroughly cleaned.
There are about 390 passengers on flights to New Zealand, with only a handful believed to be in the same area as the red zone passengers at the same time, BAC said.
At this stage, it is believed that only a handful of passengers will be around the two passengers at any one time.
Queensland’s chief health officer Jeannette Young said the two passengers were a low risk to other passengers.
“They are in the wrong zone through no fault of their own and we appreciate their patience and cooperation while we rule them out as cases.
“We are also grateful for the swift action by the Brisbane Airport staff after the fault was identified.”
Passengers arriving from Brisbane who develop symptoms or would like more information about the Covid-19 test can contact Healthline: 0800 611 116
– with RNZ