An Auckland toddler has had her much-anticipated birthday party canned after her uncle arrived into New Zealand on the coronavirus-affected flight from Iran.
The girl's mother, who didn't want to be named, said her 30-year-old brother came into the country during the stopover in Bali, from Tehran.
He is now one of two passengers the Herald has today spoken to who were seated in the four rows - 36 to 40 - which were to be contacted by health authorities. One woman called Healthline herself, while the 30-year-old Bali man was told by the Herald.
Their flight landed in Auckland on Wednesday and it was yesterday confirmed a 60-year-old passenger has been infected with the virus after testing in hospital.
However, an infectious disease expert says people who were on the same Emirates EK450 flight as the infected person should not be overly worried.
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"They shouldn't be particularly concerned. It doesn't get transmitted completely throughout the airplane environment. It depends on what symptoms were on the flight," University of Otago professor of public health Michael Baker said.
The Ministry of Health's latest research confirmed Covid-19 was spread by droplets; so when an infected person coughed, sneezed or talked. However, the droplets were too large to stay airborne for long so would settle on surrounding surfaces.
But the man's sister said it was still disconcerting to see news of the affected passenger on the news and then not hearing anything with her daughter's 5th birthday celebrations planned for today.
"We just want to make sure that everyone is safe, the community is safe, so yeah. We were just wondering because he didn't get any email from any authority regarding this particular case so we were just wondering where did this person sit?
"Otherwise do we need to do any precautions or do we need to go anywhere?"
The woman, who also has an 18-month-old, was concerned to learn her brother was in the four rows of seats affected, but pleased she had postponed the party.
They would now seek Healthline advice, although she was having trouble getting through.
Her daughter had been looking forward to her birthday for weeks but she would have felt irresponsible going ahead.
"It's my daughter's birthday today and I had to cancel everything last night when I heard the news.
"I told everybody, all the parents, 'hey, hang on, my brother was on the flight so I don't think it's a good idea for you to come'."
That was despite her having prepared everything, including a special cake and home-cooked food.
"I have already prepared everything, ordered the cake, the special cake that she's been wanting.
"My daughter was so gutted because her friends weren't coming for her birthday now."
The man said he had been wearing a mask since learning news about the flight.
He said he was keen to know if he was sitting near the infected man because he didn't see anyone wearing a mask in his area, Area D or row 36.
The man said he wasn't asked to undergo any testing and wasn't questioned about his travel when he landed.
The second passenger, from Auckland, said she only knew she should self-isolate after calling Healthline last night when news broke of the coronavirus infection.
She was surprised she hadn't been contacted sooner but wasn't too bothered.
"I'm not angry but they could have tried."
She would now work from home.
It was fortuitous their flight was only about half full. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this afternoon announced that Healthline and Auckland Primary Health would now contact all passengers on the flight.
In a press conference this afternoon, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health, said there were 33 seats surrounding the person with 20 passengers taking up those seats. People who were seated in the rows surrounding the person who had the confirmed case of coronavirus would be forced to self-isolate for 14 days since their arrival into New Zealand.
A number of passengers from the flight had contacted Healthline with staff knowing which rows are affected.
A further seven passengers, who on their arrival cards didn't say which seats they were sitting in, would be contacted by the ministry as a precaution, he said.
In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Health said the person in their 60s was alerted to health authorities after their family became concerned about their condition and called Healthline.
"They were advised to seek medical attention and attended Auckland City Hospital emergency department that same day. All were wearing masks on arrival. As a result of the individual's symptoms and travel history they were admitted and tested."
The results of the test were confirmed at 4.15pm yesterday and makes New Zealand the 48th country to have a confirmed case of the virus.
The person is in a stable condition.