Covid 19 coronavirus: Details on any new virus cases; probe continues into infected cleaner case

Investigations continue into how an aircraft cleaner contracted Covid-19 after working inside a jet that had carried a person harbouring the infection.

The Ministry of Health is due to release a statement at 1pm detailing any new cases that may be connected to the cleaner or any that has been detected at the border in the past 24 hours.

Officials have revealed genome sequencing connected the cleaner’s infection to a traveller from Ethiopia who arrived in the country on April 10. The pair both had the identical UK strain.

According to border case details the infected Ethiopian traveller tested positive on day three of routine swabs.

To date no one connected to the cleaner, who is in her 50s, has tested positive. That includes five household contacts.

The ministry has identified25 close contacts, with 17 in her workplace, after it was revealed she worked three shifts during the infectious period. They have all been isolated and tested.

By yesterday seven had tested negative, one was being followed up, and others were scheduled to be tested on day five. The ministry said this was for the best chance of detecting any infection that may be incubating after being potentially exposed to the virus.

There are still just three locations of interest including Movenpick Dominion Rd, New Lynn Bunnings and the foodcourt at Westfield St Lukes mall.

All were visited by the ill worker last Saturday.

The ministry advised people who were in the same place at the same time to monitor symptoms for the next fortnight, regarding fellow customers as casual contacts.

Yesterday Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins defended the airport protocols that allowed the cleaner to work in the airport’s red zone one day and the green zone on another shift.

The cleaner, who works for Menzies, is the latest of 15 border-related cases since July last year.

This week has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of new Covid cases with just one new infection detected in managed isolation, a traveller from Switzerland, and two close contacts of infected travellers from India who arrived earlier this month.

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