New Zealand Ministry of Health officials immediately suspended flights from Western Australia after new positive COVID-19 cases were recorded in Perth.
A 20-year-old worker at an isolation facility in Perth tested positive for COVID-19 as part of routine tests this weekend. Two of the man’s roommates also tested positive.
« Planned direct flights from Western Australia to New Zealand should be halted immediately while another assessment is in progress, including further assessment and information from Australian health officials, » said a health department statement in light of the news.
A flight from Perth, which was due to land in Auckland at 5:50 this morning, has been halted due to the new information.
Washington Prime Minister Mark McGowan said the positive case, a security officer at the Pan Pacific Hotel, was on duty between April 24-26 and previously tested negative for the virus.
He had already received his first dose of the vaccine when the result was positive.
He reportedly worked on the same floor. Two positive overseas cases were in isolation.
« On his first day off, Tuesday April 27, our health officials expect that he may have become contagious in the community, » said McGowan.
« I understand that that day he took friends into their work place and went to a friend’s house. We know that later that evening he developed symptoms that he believed were related to his COVID Pfizer vaccine.
« On Friday morning he visited a mosque for about 30 minutes and then went to a hotel quarantine facility for his weekly PCR test, as per the requirement we have for hotel quarantine workers. The test results came back and were confirmed positive. »
WA officials are currently debating whether to force another lockdown as contact tracers attempt to pinpoint the cause of the spread. The state enforced strict rules on the wearing of masks after the threat from a new cluster surfaced. All citizens in Perth and the neighboring Peel region had to cover themselves up indoors and on public transport.
« We are effectively on hold and I hope we can avoid going back into lockdown, » said McGowan.
« What has helped tremendously is that due to the temporary restrictions in place since Tuesday, movement in the community has been severely restricted and everyone has been wearing masks.
« That gives us some confidence that the risk of transmission is significantly lower than normal. These factors, and the fact that we picked this case up so early, mean we can avoid getting into a lockdown at this point. But it it is possible that this is the case. » could change by tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. »
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