New Zealand has recorded a new local case of COVID-19 after a border worker at Auckland airport returned a positive test, one day after the Trans-Tasman bubble opened between Australia and New Zealand.
The country’s Ministry of Health issued a statement on the new case, confirming that contact tracing is underway.
“There is one border worker who has returned a positive test result for COVID-19 – they work at Auckland Airport,” the statement read.
“The usual protocol of isolating the case, interviewing them, and tracing their contacts and movements is underway. More information will be provided later today and this case will be included in tomorrow’s totals.”
Guardian Australia reported that NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed more details of the new case. The worker is part of the team who boards planes to clean them after arriving from “red zones”, and COVID-positive passengers are aboard. The worker was also vaccinated against COVID-19.
It’s also confirmed the worker was tested on April 12, and then produced a positive result on another test on April 19. The worker’s close contacts are now also in isolation.
This morning, Ardern promised Australia that NZ wouldn’t close off its end of the travel bubble if an Australian state recorded a single case among airport border workers.
“We will treat any cases in a very similar way as you see the different states do,” she said.
“If there’s a hotspot and it is, for instance, a case of unknown origin and that state goes into a short lockdown, we may pause travel for a time. But if, for instance, it is a known situation that’s connected to a border worker for instance, then we wouldn’t anticipate changing up travel arrangements.”
Following the positive case today, Ardern said she suspects both countries accept that new cases are going to be “part of the journey” with the bubble travel.
“When we opened on both sides we of course knew we would continue to have cases connected to our border,” she said.
“In fact when we announced the date for opening the trans-Tasman bubble, Queensland was dealing with cases linked to its border.
“We accept that’s going to be part of our journey together. I think Australia accepts that. And for both sides, we’re always looking for clear connection to the border in this case there is.”