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Two NZDF personnel test positive for COVID-19

Two New Zealand Defence Force personnel, one civilian and one military, have tested positive for COVID-19, Vice Chief of Defence Force Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Tony Davies says.

08 November, 2020

The first positive case – announced by the Ministry of Health (MoH) on Friday evening – is a serviceperson who has been working in the quarantine facility in Auckland as part of Operation Protect, NZDF’s contribution to the All-of-Government effort, which has enabled nearly 70,000 New Zealanders to return home. 

The second case is a civilian employee who met that serviceperson in Auckland on Wednesday, before the serviceperson tested positive. MoH’s contact tracing process identified the civilian as a close contact of the serviceperson, and they subsequently tested positive. 

The civilian is based in NZDF headquarters Defence House in Wellington and travelled from Auckland to Wellington on flight NZ457 on Thursday evening. They sat in row 23, and all passengers sitting two seats in all directions are being contacted, asked to get tested and to self-isolate until 19 November. Their households have also been advised to self-isolate until the passengers receive a negative test.

The NZDF civilian is in a quarantine facility in Wellington, and five household contacts are being tested and are in self-isolation.

The serviceperson is being cared for and has provided an excellent account of his movements in order to enable a rapid and thorough contact-tracing process.

AVM Davies said Defence House, where about 1300 NZDF personnel work, had been closed for a deep clean. All staff would be working from home until further notice. Other organisations based in Defence House were being advised and their staff would also be working from home.

AVM Davies said contact tracing was being undertaken and any close contacts of the affected person had already been identified and notified. The NZDF would be circulating health messages and advice to all staff.

“We take the health and safety of our military personnel and civilian employees very seriously, and we will be doing everything we can to keep people informed and manage the situation,” AVM Davies said.

“We are also in contact with the Ministry of Health, and are abiding by their protocols. 

“We are doing everything we can to keep our people and their families and whanau safe while we undertake these important roles that directly contribute to the protection and security of New Zealand and New Zealanders.” 

“Our efforts have directly contributed to the AOG effort that has enabled so many New Zealanders to return home to Aotearoa via the managed isolation and quarantine process. Our people must continue to support the AOG response to COVID-19, and we will continue to do all that we can to keep them safe.”