Testing not happening for workers on ship in Napier after community case announcement

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Workers on a ship that a community case was working on will not be tested after it’s anchoring near Napier.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield says that the workers staying on the anchored ship pose no risk to the community as they’re isolated.

A Journalist asked a question about the workers who are on the ship, of where they’d quarantine, either on land or on the ship.

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“We need to do that in conjunction with the owners and the crew of the ship as to what would be the best option,” said Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

“I think one of the challenged would be if they were being quarantined on the ship as we have seen early in this pandemic with cruise ships is the nature of the quite close and confined quarters on the ship. It means that it may be quite difficult to keep crew members isolated from each other, but that’s something we would work through with the ship if it became an issue to do what was best for assuring and protecting the health of all crew members on board the ship.”

Dr Bloomfield says the ship crew will be taking precautions and remain isolated from each other as much as possible during the next 14 days.

“If there is anyone who is infectious on actually that infection passing through to other crew members. There is urgency. I know the teams both the port authorities, our border authorities, our public health teams both in Napier and in Auckland are working with us with the ship’s crew and their agents who are overseas and owners who are overseas,” said Dr Bloomfield.

The Ministry believes there’s not a strong preference. They had the opportunity as the ship was on route to Napier to notify while it was on route allowing a little bit of time for them to anchor off-shore and work out what the best solution is for all the parties on board.

On the terms of getting each worker tested, Dr Ashley Bloomfield says that it is a ‘very’ contained situation.

“Whilst there is some risk, they are all considered close contacts. Our hope is that because both the worker who was symptomatic at the time and the crew were wearing PPE; our hope is the best scenario would be that none of them has become infected,” said Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

None so far on the ship according to the Ministry of Health has had symptoms of COVID-19 — each crew member has had daily symptom checks.

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