Auckland airport Covid case not linked to travel bubble

Helen Coffey
·2-min read
<p>Auckland Airport departures lounge</p> (Getty Images)

Auckland Airport departures lounge

(Getty Images)

A case of Covid-19 contracted at Auckland airport in New Zealand has been linked to a passenger traveling from Ethiopia, rather than the newly instated trans-Tasman travel bubble.

A cleaner who deals with planes from high-risk countries at the airport tested positive for the virus.

It was then traced to a traveller from Ethiopia who is currently in quarantine. Their close contacts have been tested and isolated, and three locations “of interest” were alerted following the passenger’s recent movements.

No further cases of community transmission were announced at New Zealand’s most recent briefing.

It comes just a day after the trans-Tasman travel bubble kicked off, allowing restriction-free travel been New Zealand and Australia.

Some were concerned this latest Covid case could scupper the newly launched bubble, but New Zealand’s Covid-19 minister, Chris Hipkins, set about to reassure the public that the scheme was not in jeopardy.

“On both sides of the Tasman, our first expectation is that we look to contain any cases using contact tracing,” he told Radio NZ.

“I'm relatively confident based on what we know at the moment that we should be able to do that.”

He added that flights between the two countries would likely only be suspended in the event of “unidentified community transmission cases”.

“Where it's a link to a border worker, if that spreads further by one or two cases and we can contain those and contain their close contacts, that's not the sort of thing that would need to disrupt trans-Tasman travel,” he said.

“As we've shown in the past, we can contain those without alert level escalation.

”The sorts of things that give us an alert level escalation are the sorts of things that might disrupt trans-Tasman travel.“

The trans-Tasman bubble opened at 11.59pm on 18 April to much fanfare as families and friends were reunited.

At Wellington airport in New Zealand, there were huge celebrations to mark the first plane touching down in the capital.

Footage showed passengers running into arrivals and hugging others, surrounded by cheering.

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