A Port of Tauranga worker who returned an inconclusive Covid-19 test result has now tested negative for the virus.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed earlier 110 swabs had been taken with 109 returning negative results and one person needing to be retested.
The Ministry of Health said tonight that the person who was retested had returned a negative result.
It comes after it was revealed yesterday that 11 of 21 crew on the Rio De La Plata container ship off Tauranga tested Covid positive.
The prime minister said more information would be released later today on whether the Queensland pilot might have infected the Rio De La Plata crew or vice versa.
This morning Covid response minister Chris Hipkins says 65 out of 98 port workers had so far returned negative test results.
Hipkins this morning told Newstalk ZB host Mike Hosking that the remainder of port workers’ test results would be processed today and more results could be expected this morning.
“Those results that had come back negative included pilots who were the most at risk, so that’s very encouraging,” he said.
Hipkins said it had been very challenging to get port workers vaccinated due to a lot of misinformation.
Only nine of the 98 port workers had been fully vaccinated.
When asked by Hosking why harsher measures had not been used to get port workers vaccinated, Hipkins said: “The last thing we want to do is shut down the ports … we have to work carefully to ensure we keep the ports going but also encourage people to get vaccinated.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pointed out at a press conference yesterday that it was now mandatory for those workers to be vaccinated by the end of September “or it may mean job loss”.
The Rio De La Plata crew includes an Australian pilot who has tested positive for the virus and who was onboard the vessel July in Queensland.
They developed symptoms and then tested positive for Covid-19 nine days after being aboard the vessel.
The Australian pilot is confirmed to have the Delta variant and has not been linked to any other Queensland cases.
Hipkins said health officials were in discussion about whether booster shots would be needed.
“We don’t want to buy five million of the same vaccine if we find out later we need an updated vaccine,” he said.
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