Director-General of the World Health Organization Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warns that the delta variant of Covid-19 is “circulating around the world at a scorching pace”. Video / WHO
More crew members aboard a container ship hit by Covid-19 have tested positive for the virus.
A total of nine crew members on the Marshall Islands-flagged ship Mattina showed positive results overnight after all 21 seamen were tested when two of their crew members started showing flu-like symptoms.
The health ministry confirmed the news in a statement this morning, saying: “Following confirmation of the first two cases yesterday afternoon, all additional results came back late last night and confirmed seven more cases of Covid-19 on board the ship.”
The statement also revealed that a local port member – the Southport pilot – is the only other person who has had contact with the ship’s crew after boarding as the ship entered port.
“Pilots had to board ships of this size when docking. The pilot was wearing appropriate (personal protective equipment) and was fully vaccinated.
“No one else has been on or off the ship since it docked.”
The tests that took place yesterday morning were conducted in the aisle area. All applicable protocols were followed by health stuff, including PPE, the ministry said.
Exactly what will happen to the ship is not yet known as Southern District Health Board health officials, along with other agencies, are working to determine the next steps for the ship.
“In the meantime, the crew members remain on board the Mattina.”
Additional fencing should also be installed to further restrict access to the vessel.
The Mattina, which was brought into Bluff harbor on Sunday evening, is the third ship in New Zealand waters to be hit by the coronavirus.
The positive Covid results from the Mattina follow those reported in recent weeks on Spanish-flagged ships, the Viking Bay and the Playa Zahara.
In total, 16 of the 18 crew members of the Playa Zahara tested positive for Covid-19 last week.
The ship was brought into Port Taranaki so that those on board could be tested before making its way to Lyttelton Port in Christchurch.