The Director General of Health says a ship now heading to Brisbane is believed to be the most likely source of transmission in the latest Covid-19 case in New Zealand.
An electronic marine engineer tested positive for Covid-19, the Ministry of Health confirmed yesterday.
The man had worked on several boats until his positive test result, including one at Taranaki Port on Wednesday 14 October. He became symptomatic on Friday 16 October and requested a test.
The man had taken regular tests, he came out negative on October 2nd.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) said the risk of transmission to the community is low because the husband had limited contact with members of the public. His domestic contacts are self-isolating and other close contacts are being investigated, the MoH said.
Told Health Director Dr Ashley Bloomfield Morning Report it was unlikely that the ship with which he worked at Taranaki, now anchored at sea awaiting permission to anchor at Napier, is the source of the transmission.
“Oneshte one (ship) in particular for which he worked around 12 and 13 October is considered the most likely in which he may have been infected. That ship has now set sail from New Zealand, so there will be some work to be done with the authorities, in fact it is on its way to Brisbane, so there is work with the authorities there to do, they have already been informed that it is on its way “.
Dr Bloomfield was unaware of how long the ship (bound for Brisbane) had been at sea, but the crew on board were not allowed to come ashore unless certain protocols had been met in advance.
“Even if a ship has been at sea for 14 days, due to the nature of that enclosed environment … the nearby neighborhoods within which the crew and / or passengers are living, it means that the virus can jump for many longer than 14 days and you may have … the whole crew with negative tests someone may still be incubating the virus. “
Dr Bloomfield said the man had worked on the boat in New Plymouth for six hours.
The man also stayed at a motel and hotel during his stay in New Plymouth. The Devon Hotel, where he stayed, was completely cleaned, its owner said.
Dr Bloomfield added investigations into where the case came from are ongoing.
“The next thing we hope to go through today is the whole genome ranking in the Covid-19 test of the case because it will give us a hint of where the origin of his infection may be.”
Dr Bloomfield said the MoH would consider whether the time between testing of port workers should be shortened due to this latest case.
More cases like this will continue to appear – Michael Baker
Told about the epidemiologist of the University of Otago, Professor Michael Baker First up to expect similar cases in the future.
“The pandemic is intensifying globally, New Zealand has a lot of connections to the outside world through airports, seaports and incoming passengers and all those situations that could allow the virus to return to New Zealand.
“If we look at the pattern of the last two months now, we have had four other examples of the virus coming across the border, assuming that the great Auckland outbreak was also presented this way, so this is really the example of fifth of the last two-three months.We are looking at a pattern, it probably won’t be a very predictable pattern, but I think the good news is that four of these recent violations have all been very small and quick “.
Michael Baker said by all accounts, the man did everything right and should be praised for his pragmatism.
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