Covid infected Air NZ staffer: Did fellow crew members travel around country?

The union representing airline staff is waiting to hear if those working alongside a flight attendant who contracted Covid-19 came from different regions around New Zealand.

An Air New Zealand flight attendant tested positive for the infection at the weekend six days after returning from Japan on February 28.

The Auckland woman has since shifted to Auckland’s Jet Park quarantine facility after the infection was detected during routine surveillance on Sunday.

Fourteen other air crew on the same leg as the latest border-related case are in the process of being contacted, isolated and retested.

Three others in the woman’s family tested negative yesterday, including a partner who played a round of golf with friends at a popular city course.

E tū’s head of aviation Savage said at this stage it wasn’t clear if everyone resided in Auckland.

A number of the cabin crew who flew international routes “commuted” to work from their homes across the country.

“There are air crew, both pilots and flight attendants, that live outside of Auckland and who crew the 787s,” said Savage.

“I don’t have any specific information about whether or not the crew on that particular flight were Auckland based or what are commonly referred to as “commuters”, that is, crew that are based outside Auckland.”

He said there were a number of union members in the affected crew”so we’re just gathering some information at the moment”.

He expected to get an update in coming hours whether any on board the flight lived outside Auckland.

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Savage said all staff at the airline had been sent a memo outlining the situation yesterday afternoon ahead of the official announcement of a new case.

It included basic information about what had happened, details about when the person had been tested and how crew were being contacted and tested.

“It was just some reassurances and proper information so that people hearing rumours were hearing some accurate information from the company,” he said.

Despite the positive test, Savage said cabin crew were incredibly focused on safety both on and off duty.

“They are aware of the risk. They do everything they can to ensure that the public stay safe and they stay safe,” he said.

The worker at the centre of this latest case received a covid vaccination jab on March 3.

There were so far one location of interest, an airport supermarket. The Ministry of Health said last night there was also a health appointment at a clinic that was still being assessed

Those attending the same clinic at the same time were being identified and would be contacted and provided with specific health advice.

The infected woman was a frequent user of the Covid Tracer app which was aiding public health staff to identify potential exposure events and assess any risks from their activities.

Air New Zealand has been approached for comment.

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