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Covid: Passenger infected four others on flight after testing negative, report says

A passenger who had tested negative for coronavirus before a flight went on to infect four others during the journey, according to a new medical report.

A total of seven passengers sitting in relatively close proximity to one another ultimately tested positive for Covid-19 following the flight, states the report from New Zealand’s Institute of Environmental Science and Research.

The passengers had travelled from different parts of the world to converge on the flight departing from Dubai in the UAE on 29 September.

The destination for Emirates flight EK448 was Auckland in New Zealand, with a two-hour refuelling stop in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia where none of the passengers got off or on the aircraft.

The total journey time was 18hr 02min, making it one of the longest flights currently operating.

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The report identified the seven passengers as A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Of these, A, B, C, D, and F had all had a PCR test for Covid-19 in their home countries within 72 hours of their journey and had all tested negative.

And while “during the flight mask use was not mandatory… cases A, B, D, F and G self-reported mask and glove use on the plane while cases C and E did not”.

New Zealand is currently operating a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all international arrivals, so all of the 86 passengers on board the flight were taken to quarantine centres, known as managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ), where they were tested for coronavirus on the third and 12th day of their stay.

Passengers A, B and C all tested positive for Covid during the first screening in New Zealand on 2 October – all other passengers tested negative at this stage.

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