Air New Zealand confirms case of COVID-19 on board

Three aircrafts to undergo deep clean after airline confirms passenger who tested positive with COVID-19 travelled on its services.

Air New Zealand has ordered three of its aircraft to undergo a deep clean after the airline confirmed a passenger who has tested positive with COVID-19 travelled on its services.

The passenger travelled from Singapore to Auckland on 25 February, then flew from Auckland to Palmerston North on 2 March, returning to Auckland on the same day.

The airline said it is working closely with the Ministry of Health and Government agencies to identify and proactively contact customers who travelled on the Singapore service and the two regional flights.

Air New Zealand chief medical officer Doctor Ben Johnston said Air New Zealand has anticipated and planned for this scenario and has a robust process in play to manage its response.

“We are working closely with the Ministry of Health to identify and proactively contact customers from these flights. This includes utilising our own Contact Centre staff.

“The health and safety of passengers and crew is Air New Zealand’s top priority and our aircraft already undergo a thorough cleaning process, which includes cleaning surfaces such as tray tables and inflight entertainment screens with a disinfectant that kills viruses,” Johnston said.

“We also remove all headsets, headrest covers, pillow covers, and blankets after every international flight. Domestic and regional services surfaces and bathrooms are wiped with disinfectant spray. The three aircraft this customer flew on will now also undergo a deep clean.”

The passenger in the second confirmed case of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in New Zealand in a person in their 60s recently returned from Iran. The results of the test were formally reported to the Ministry of Health on Friday, February 28.

A third case was confirmed by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday (4 March, 2020) evening. New Zealand is the 48th country to have a confirmed case of COVID-19.

As of 4 March 2020, there have been 41 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. Fifteen of the initially reported cases in Australia all had a direct or indirect travel history to Wuhan, China

Ten cases are associated with the Diamond Princess repatriation flight from Japan. All of these people have returned to their home states for medical care.

Ten cases are reported to have had a direct or indirect travel history to Iran, while one case reported in a health care worker did not have a history of travel to any high risk countries in recent weeks.

Four cases are reported to have had a travel history to countries including Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and South Korea, while two cases did not have a reported history of travel to any high-risk countries and further investigations are pending.

Earlier this week a 78-year-old man from Perth became the first person in Australia to die from the coronavirus. The man was one of the Australian citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

Across the world, there have been more than 91,800 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) and over 3100 reported deaths.

Of confirmed cases reported globally, the case fatality rate is approximately 3.4 per cent. The case fatality rate in countries and regions outside mainland China is 1.6 per cent.

The majority of cases and deaths associated with COVID-19 have been reported from mainland China. There have been over 11,600 cases, including 188 deaths, reported from 76 countries and regions outside mainland China. The majority of new cases continue to be reported from South Korea, Italy and Iran.

Earlier this week World Health Organization warned severe and mounting disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) – caused by rising demand, panic buying, hoarding and misuse – is putting lives at risk from the new coronavirus and other infectious diseases.

On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

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