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Covid 19 coronavirus: The air routes bringing in the most Covid to NZ aren’t flagged as ‘high risk’. Why not?

There have been 90,200 vaccines administered to date. A total of 19,273 people have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Originally published by The Spinoff

The Government has designated only two air routes into the country as high risk, meaning crew flying them face tougher restrictions. But just 3 per cent of new Covid-19 cases arrived via these routes in the past month – and no changes are planned to the system.

Los Angeles and San Francisco remain the only two locations designated “high risk” under official health rules, despite neither featuring prominently as departure points for people arriving in New Zealand who test positive for Covid-19. The vast majority of positive Covid-19 tests in recent months are among people arriving from India via Dubai.

Most New Zealand-based aircrew are exempt from requirements to stay in MIQ but under Covid-19 legislation, the director general of health can declare an air route as being higher risk, meaning aircrew based in New Zealand who work those flights must isolate on arrival until they receive a negative Covid test.

Ashley Bloomfield has required this only for flights from the two west coast US cities, making those designations last October. There have been no changes since.

Health officials began reviewing the risk assessments a month ago after an Air New Zealand flight attendant tested positive following her return from Japan. That review has concluded with no change being made and restrictions will continue to apply only to direct flights departing from the US, Bloomfield confirmed.

People wait to receive the vaccine for Covid-19 at Moti Lal Nehru Medical College in Prayagraj, India. The nation hits another new peak with cases soaring. Photo / AP
People wait to receive the vaccine for Covid-19 at Moti Lal Nehru Medical College in Prayagraj, India. The nation hits another new peak with cases soaring. Photo / AP

“There is no change to that proposed as yet and we are still working with the same series of definitions, and those are updated regularly depending on what’s happening in different countries,” Bloomfield said yesterday.

“We’ve seen over the last few weeks quite a big…

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