An international traveller who accidentally entered a ‘green zone’ area of Brisbane’s airport has tested positive to coronavirus.

The traveller was in transit from Papua New Guinea (where the Covid crisis has pushed the health system to the brink of collapse), and, along with one other passenger, was accidentally allowed into the ‘green zone’ of Brisbane International Airport on Thursday morning.

The two passengers spent 90 minutes in the green zone, during which time three flights carrying 390 passengers departed to New Zealand.

The flights impacted are:

  • Air New Zealand NZ202 to Christchurch
  • Air New Zealand NZ146 to Aukland
  • Qantas QF135 to Christchurch

Passengers from high risk flights are meant to stay in a ‘red zone’ of the airport; the airport has said it was “human error” that they were let into the red zone.

CCTV shows the passengers mostly spending time in the Hudson Café in the retail area before they were located and returned to the ‘red zone’.

Both passengers were wearing masks correctly, CCTV shows, and they had little interaction with other people.

“It is believed only a handful of passengers were in the vicinity of the two ‘red’ passengers at any time,” a statement from Brisbane Airport Corporation said.

“BAC is conducting a thorough investigation and unreservedly apologises for this human error.”

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young has declared the international terminal a venue of concern.

“Anyone who was in the terminal between 9.45am and midday on Thursday, 29 April 2021, should monitor their symptoms and get tested immediately if they feel unwell,” she said in a statement.

Testing is underway to determine if the person’s COVID-19 case is “historical”, but in the meantime, all staff members who came into contact with the case are in quarantine.

“We have advised the NZ Ministry of Health of the latest results and they are taking their own protection measures,” Young said.