All 110 Covid-19 swabs collected from workers at the port of Tauranga involved in a ship that carried 11 Covid-19 crew members, except one, came back negative, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
The samples were collected from people in and around the port of Tauranga on Monday after the crew were involved in the unloading of the container ship, Rio de la Plata, which was cleared to dock at the port last week.
Ardern said on Tuesday that the lone outstanding swab did not contain enough sample to be analyzed accurately, so it was in the process of being resumed. She told reporters that this happens “every now and then,” but the end result is expected Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, sewage samples were also taken in Tauranga to test for Covid-19. Test results are expected to come back on Thursday.
A spokesperson for the health ministry said it was a “precautionary measure”.
A spokeswoman for the port of Tauranga said in a statement on Tuesday that the port’s container terminal was still operating at around 50% of its capacity and would continue to do so until the longshoremen were officially informed they could resume. work.
“Some workers will be retested today and we expect them to return to port in the next few days,” she said.
âOur main concern is with port workers, including our pilots, who have been placed in a very stressful situation. Blaming the victims and abusing is not helpful.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said The morning show earlier than 65 of the workers’ results were available late Monday night, and all were negative.
* Tauranga disembarks angry and scared as crew of container ship tests positive for Covid-19
* Two Covid-19 positive Mattina crew returned to ship after hospital trip
* A ship with 16 sailors infected with Covid is now expected to dock in Christchurch on Sunday
âIt is important to note that the two pilots of the ship, therefore the people who went on the ship – first to bring the ship into port, then the person who went on the ship to take the ship out of port – they ‘We both came back negative,’ Hipkins said.
âIt’s really encouraging. These are the people who have had the closest contact with the ship. So the fact that they both come back negative is a good sign.
âThousands of ships entered New Zealand ports every year, and authorities assumed that all could have people infected with Covid on board,â Hipkins said.
The port was first alerted to infections on the ship Tuesday last week after an Australian pilot from Queensland developed symptoms and tested positive nine days after being on board. It was confirmed that the pilot had the Delta variant.
Ardern said there were early indications that this pilot may have been the source of the crew’s infection, rather than contracting it from the crew. More information on that initial hypothesis was due to be released later Tuesday.
When the vessel was docked in Tauranga, the crew unloading the Singapore registered vessel were unexpectedly ordered to stop work and return home and self-isolate. The next morning, they were given the green light to resume work on the vessel with no isolation order in place.
Ardern said health officials would release details of what prompted them to make the decision.
âThe conversation I’ve had with health, they’re going to pull together all of the decision making that has taken place and a little bit of sequencing around that, and what fueled that decision making. We will share this later today [Tuesday]. “
A total of 87 port workers who boarded the ship were not vaccinated, while two were partially vaccinated and only nine were fully vaccinated. There was a legal order in place requiring port workers to get the jab or risk losing their jobs.
Ardern said on Monday there had always been a sense of “urgency” to vaccinate port workers, but blamed misinformation and reluctance for low vaccination rates.
“We cannot afford to have a situation where our port workers are not vaccinated, which is why we have mandated it … this is despite the concerns that have been expressed that they are private employees, this are not government employees. “
The crew who boarded the vessel did so following infection control controls and PPE protocols.
However, national Covid-19 response spokesman Chris Bishop previously said these workers should not have been allowed to board the ship until its crew was tested for Covid-19.
Hipkins said there had to be a “very good clear review” as to whether the situation should have been handled differently, including whether port workers should have been allowed on board the ship had there been any. a Covid-19 problem.
The Rio de la Plata was the fourth Covid-infected vessel to dock in New Zealand – in July, the Playa Zahara docked in Christchurch with 16 infected sailors, the vessel Viking Bay originally docked in Wellington with two crew members crew infected, and the Mattina docked off Bluff with a total of 16 Covid-positive sailors.