NSW Health are urgently trying to notify passengers on board two recent domestic Australian flights, after a man in his 40s was diagnosed with coronavirus COVID-19.
It’s thought that the man was one of two Australia Defence Force personnel to have fallen ill with Coronavirus.
On February 28 the man, in his 40s, flew from Sydney to Defence Headquarters in Canberra and back again the same day.
He was symptomatic while travelling. These flights are QF1509 Sydney to Canberra and VA651 Canberra to Sydney.
“NSW Health is asking anyone seated in rows 2-6 in the first flight or rows 3-7 in the second flight to self-isolate,” a NSW health statement reads.
“Anyone else travelling on these flights in other rows are not considered to be close contacts and should monitor their health until 13 March and to contact their GP for assessment and testing if they develop any symptoms.”
A close contact is a person who has spent significant time face-to-face (15 minutes) or in an enclosed space (two hours or more).
It’s not the first time health officials have had to track down passengers on board a potentially infectious flight.
Earlier this month, authorities in NSW and Victoria urgently tried to track down passengers on multiple flights from Iran to Australia who were sitting near passengers infected with coronavirus.
A woman in her 50s and a man in his 40s arrived in Sydney from Iran on separate flights towards the end of February.
The passengers who arrived in Sydney on Qatar Airways flight QR908 on February 23 have been asked to be alert to symptoms of coronavirus.
In the days following the diagnosis, NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said those who sat a couple of rows in front of and behind the woman should self-isolate for 14 days.
In addition, authorities in Victoria were forced to track down passengers on a Malindo Air flight which touched down in Melbourne on Friday 29, 2020 after a woman travelling from Iran tested positive to the virus.
The state’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton, urged any passenger on Malindo Air flight OD177 from Kuala Lumpur to Denpasar then Melbourne, which arrived at 6.04am, to contact the health department on 1800 657 398 for more information.
Like other flights of a similar nature, passengers who sat in the same row as the woman, as well as two rows immediately in front and behind her, will need to be quarantined for 14 days.