Covid-19: Kiwis 'should not be alarmed' about ship worker's positive test – experts

Covid-19: Kiwis 'should not be alarmed' about ship worker's positive test – experts

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Ministry of Health

One new community case of Covid-19 in Auckland is announced by Dr Ashley Bloomfield on Sunday.

A case where an Auckland ship worker has tested positive for Covid-19 appeared to be contained, experts say.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield revealed on Sunday a man who works on ships in Taranaki and Auckland had the virus.

He said there was little risk the disease had spread and that the source was likely to have come through the border.

Bloomfield described risk of community transmission as “lowish”.

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Epidemiologist Arindam Basu, associate professor at Canterbury University, said the case was not unexpected and Kiwis “should not be alarmed”.

He said people “still needed to be a little bit careful” and keep up the day-to-day practice of hand-washing and mask-wearing.

The man was tested for Covid-19 after he felt unwell (File photo).

RYAN ANDERSON/Stuff

The man was tested for Covid-19 after he felt unwell (File photo).

“Bloomfield gave a clear indication everything was under control”.

Professor Shaun Hendy, who leads the research group Te Pūnaha Matatini, had a similar view to Basu and said the country should know the chance of coronavirus making it through the border was not zero.

He said the case’s likely link to the border was “really reassuring” but the public still needed to follow the same advice as always: keep using the NZ Covid Tracer app and basic hygiene precautions.

Hendy said the use of PPE did not eliminate the risk of transmission but helped keep it down.

“It does not make it completely zero.

“It is extremely difficult to eliminate the chance of spread even with PPE.”

The man recently worked on a ship at Port Taranaki (File photo).

Andy Jackson/Stuff

The man recently worked on a ship at Port Taranaki (File photo).

He said contact with people was “most risky” but said transmission via a surface on a ship the man was working on was “certainly a possibility”.

Hendy remarked it was important the testing of frontline workers was kept up.

Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said there were early signs the case had been contained.

“It is clearly linked to a border contact as part of his work,” he said.

“We have good reason to be optimistic in this case.”

Baker described the case as a new development for New Zealand and said it was a “novel feature” as it was the first linked to a seaport.

Like Basu and Hendy, he felt the testing and contact tracing systems had worked “very well” but also said the country should remain vigilant to the virus.

Stuff

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