Friday, 30 Jul 2021

Covid 19 coronavirus: Port worker case – authorities chase up crew’s health on Brisbane ship

There is one new imported case of Covid-19 today, health authorities say as they chase up their counterparts in Australia about the health of those onboard a ship a Covid-positive New Zealander worked on.

A marine electronics engineer tested positive for the disease on Saturday.

It’s believed he caught the virus while working on a ship, the Sofrana Surville, in Auckland on October 12 and 13.

The ship arrived in Brisbane last night.

New Zealand officials are following up with public health officials in Australia about the health of those on board, the Ministry of Health said in a statement today.

Local authorities are conducting testing and serology on its 19 crew members. They will share the results when received and conduct genome sequencing on any positive results, if any.

The Sofrana travelled from Brisbane to Tauranga and then to Auckland, where eight crew joined it from the Philippines. They had flown into New Zealand and were released from managed isolation on October 13.

The New Zealand port worker was wearing PPE while working on board on October 13.

Eleven people are considered to be in contact with the Sofrana Surville while it was in Auckland, the Ministry’s investigation has found.

Other ship crews tested

The Ken Rei, a ship off the coast of Napier with 21 crew on board, was also being looked at. The engineer also worked on the ship.

It is currently anchored off Napier and all 21 workers on board are being treated as close contacts. The man had been working on equipment on the ship on October 14.

The Ministry is working to determine the next moves in regards to testing the close contacts with crew members on board.

All 21 crew members are well and are not reporting any symptoms of Covid-19. They have been symptom-free for seven days.

“Officials are determining with the ship’s owners the next move for the Ken Rei, in conjunction with public health units and port authorities,” the Ministry said.

“Testing arrangements will be made once a decision about future movements has been made.”

There are 30 community close contacts identified in relation to the port worker case.

All those deemed as a close contact of the man have been contacted by the authorities and are self-isolating.

“All the test results returned from close and casual contacts of the case announced on Sunday are negative to date,” the Ministry says.

Meanwhile, a New Zealand-based ship with a New Zealand-based crew will be tested by Kiwi officials tomorrow.

But the vessel, the Moana Chief, is considered unlikely to be the source of infection.

“The ship is today moving from Marsden Point to Tauranga, and testing of the crew will take place tomorrow to rule it out as the source of infection,” the Ministry says.

All crew are being followed up, tested and isolated if required.

“Toi Te Ora, the public health unit in the Bay of Plenty, is continuing work to identify people who boarded the ship (Sofrana Surville) while it was in Tauranga,” the Ministry said.

Historical case

It was revealed yesterday a suspected historical case of Covid-19 had been detected.

The Ministry confirmed it was investigating a suspected historical case of Covid-19, detected in a crew member on the IVS Merlion, which is currently docked in the Port of Tauranga.

The crew member has returned a weak positive Covid-19 test, with a high CT value, that indicates an old infection, the Ministry said.

“It appears most likely that this crew member had Covid-19 some time ago and is no longer infectious. The IVS Merlion arrived into New Zealand waters on October 15 after departing Indonesia on September 24.”

New case

The new imported case is a person arrived on October 7 from Kenya via Dubai before being taken to a managed isolation facility in Auckland, the Ministry of Health reports.

They tested positive around day 12 on their stay and have been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility.

There are no new community cases of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, five previously reported Covid-19 cases in New Zealand are considered to have recovered, bringing the total number of active cases to 33.

The overall number of confirmed cases is now 1531, which is the number reported to the World Health Organisation.

Yesterday, the Ministry’s laboratories completed 2715 tests for the virus, bringing the total number of tests completed to 1,034,603.

There are now 2,311,100 users registered on the NZ Covid Tracer app.

The app has recorded a total of 94,853,858 poster scans, and users have created 3,962,747 manual diary entries.

Anyone in New Zealand who develops symptoms consistent with Covid-19 should immediately contact their health care provider or Healthline and get tested.

People can get tested at their GP, or at after-hours clinics. Many DHBs still have community-based assessment centres for Covid-19 testing, and some DHBs are also doing pop-up testing.

“Wherever and whenever you go to get tested, a Covid-19 test is free of charge,” the Ministry says.

“Locations where you can get a test are available on your DHB website or on the ARPHS website if you are in Auckland.”

It was revealed on Sunday the port worker had tested positive for the disease. It was the first community case in New Zealand since September 24.

The port in Napier did not want the Ken Rei to berth, but Bloomfield said that wasn’t a source of frustration and he was happy for it to be anchored off the coast while the next move was being resolved.

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