Second confirmed case in New Zealand transited through Singapore
A passenger who flew from Singapore to Auckland is now confirmed to have been infected by the coronavirus.
The woman, a New Zealander in her 30s, was here on transit on Feb 25. She was returning home after a trip to northern Italy.
In a release yesterday, New Zealand's Ministry of Health said she took Air New Zealand flight NZ283 from Singapore to Auckland. She then took a flight to Palmerston North and then a flight back to Auckland.
She is the second confirmed case there and is in self-isolation at home. Her partner also has symptoms and is being tested.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern posted a message on Facebook yesterday reassuring New Zealanders that the situation was something the country had planned for.
She said that students were involved in the case, but they did not have symptoms and were unlikely to spread the virus.
The New Zealand health authorities said the two students, believed to be a boy and a girl, are family members of the woman and did not travel with her to Italy.
Air New Zealand issued a statement yesterday that said it is working closely with the government and health authorities to identify and proactively contact customers who travelled on the Singapore service and other regional flights the woman took on the way home.
Dr Ben Johnston, Air New Zealand's chief medical officer, said the airline has anticipated and planned for this scenario.
"The health and safety of passengers and crew is Air New Zealand's top priority and our aircraft already undergoes a thorough cleaning process, which includes cleaning surfaces such as tray tables and in-flight entertainment screens with a disinfectant that kills viruses," he said.
"The three aircraft this customer flew on will now also undergo a deep clean."
Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed the woman was on transit at Changi Airport.
A spokesman said: "We are working closely with the New Zealand Ministry of Health and the respective airlines to conduct contact tracing for the crew and flight passengers who may have had contact with the confirmed case of Covid-19 while the case was infectious."
Singapore said on Tuesday it will ban the entry or transit in Singapore of travellers who have been to northern Italy, South Korea and Iran within the last 14 days from 11.59pm yesterday.