Ship bound for Brisbane, most likely source of Covid transmission – Ashley Bloomfield


The Director General of Health says a ship now bound for Brisbane is considered the most likely source of transmission in New Zealand’s latest Covid-19 case.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

A marine electronics engineer tested positive for Covid-19, the health ministry confirmed yesterday.

The man had worked on several ships in the run-up to his positive test result, including one in the port of Taranaki on Wednesday October 14. He became symptomatic on Friday, October 16, and sought a test.

The man had been tested regularly, he tested negative on October 2.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) said the risk of community transmission is low because the man had little contact with members of the public. His household contacts are isolating themselves and other close contacts are under investigation, the Justice Department said.

Director General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said Morning report it was unlikely that the ship he was working on at Taranaki, now anchored at sea awaiting permission to dock in Napier, was the source of the transmission.

A logging vessel, Ken Rei, docked in Napier Monday morning, awaiting official advice following a Covid-19 scare.
Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

“There is one (ship) in particular that he worked on around October 12-13, which is considered the most likely of which he might have been infected. That ship has now departed from New Zealand so there will be some work with the authorities, actually it’s on its way to Brisbane so needs to work with the authorities, they’ve already been notified it’s on its way. ‘

Dr. Bloomfield did not know how long the ship (bound for Brisbane) was at sea, but the crew on board must not come ashore unless certain protocols have been complied with beforehand.

“Even if a ship has been at sea for 14 days, because of the nature of that closed environment … the proximity in which the crew and / or passengers live, it means that the virus can bounce around for much longer than 14 days and you may have … crew with negative tests, someone could still hatch the virus. ”

Dr. Bloomfield said the man had worked six hours on the ship in New Plymouth.

The man also stayed at a motel and hotel during his stay in New Plymouth. The Devon Hotel, where he stayed, had been thoroughly cleaned, the owner said.

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The port of Taranaki.
Photo: Taranaki Regional Council

Dr. Bloomfield added that investigations are underway as to where the case came from.

“The other thing we hope to endure today is the full genome sequencing of the case’s Covid-19 assay, as it gives us a hint as to where the origin of his infection might be.”

Dr. Bloomfield said the Justice Department will consider shortening the time between docker testing because of the latter case.

More cases like this will continue to arise – Michael Baker

Told epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker of the University of Otago First to expect similar cases to these in the future.

“The pandemic is getting worse worldwide, New Zealand has many connections to the outside world through airports, seaports and arriving passengers and all those situations that allow the virus to enter New Zealand again.

“Now if we look at the pattern of the past few months, we have four other examples of the virus that crossed the border, assuming the big outbreak in Auckland was introduced this way too, so this is really the fifth example of this. the past two to three months. We’re seeing a pattern, it’s probably not going to be a very predictable pattern, but I think the good news is that the last four of these breakthroughs were all very small and picked up quickly. ”

Michael Baker said by all accounts, the man did everything right and deserves credit for his pragmatism.


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