Two days after a pair of mariners tested positive for COVID-19, a second ship wants to come back to shore in New Zealand having reported crew suffering from “flu-like symptoms”, the Ministry of Health has revealed.
The fishing vessel, foreign-owned but operating from New Zealand, has requested to dock here.
However the ministry says it is not currently in New Zealand’s territorial waters and presents no immediate risk. The ship will undergo the usual pratique declarations and the situation will be assessed by the local public health unit.
“This situation will be updated by Customs as more information comes to hand,” a press release reads.
It comes after the ministry announced on Tuesday that two mariners on a ship off the coast of Taranaki had tested positive for COVID-19.
Whole genome sequencing of the first of these mariners has shown they are carrying the Delta variant. It also shows the infection is not linked to any other cases in New Zealand.
“An All of Government response has been set up, led by Customs,” the ministry says.
“Health is working closely with the All of Government response, border agencies, port authorities and the shipping company to address the health needs of crew members and to determine the next steps for the vessel.
“It is not yet clear which port the ship will return to. On their return to New Zealand, 15 of the 20 crew members disembarking – including the two COVID-19 positive mariners – are expected to go into a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility.”
The Ministry of Health says this facility is likely to be at the port they return to – though as there are no MIQ facilities in New Plymouth, the ship will need to disembark somewhere else.
“Health officials continue to regard this situation as low risk to public health due to the infection prevention control process in place. There remains no associated locations of interest.”
On Thursday, one new coronavirus case has been detected in New Zealand – but there’s still no evidence of community transmission after last month’s COVID-19 scare in Wellington.
The case was detected during routine testing on day zero, the Ministry of Health announced in their latest update on Thursday afternoon. They had flown into Auckland from Russia via the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, July 6.
There are now 41 active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, and a total of 2408 confirmed cases recorded here since the start of the pandemic.
On Wednesday, 7011 tests were processed across the country. The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 2,336,504 – though this does not include the full number of tests processed by Waikato DHB, due to the cyber attack.