All port workers potentially exposed to Covid-19 on an infected ship in Tauranga have tested negative - as the ship itself has moved away from New Zealand waters.
The Ministry of Health has confirmed that all 72 Port of Tauranga staff identified as contacts of the Rio de la Plata have been cleared of the deadly virus.
Of those people, 70 were identified as needing a day three Covid test after their potential exposure.
A total of 64 of those port workers have returned a negative test and six are pending.
Two pilots self isolating
Two pilots - who have also both tested negative - are self isolating, a ministry statement said.
"Local Tauranga public health staff will be providing individual advice to the border workers on when they can return to work - with the majority cleared for work today."
The news comes as the Singapore-flagged ship left the coast of Tauranga overnight and is now on its way to Malaysia - with infected crew members still on board.
The Rio de la Plata has been anchored off Tauranga for the last few days after it was confirmed this week that 11 of 21 of its crew members had tested positive for Covid.
Vessel tracking websites, including Vessel Finder, show the ship left the area overnight and it is due to arrive at the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, in Malaysia, next weekend.
A spokeswoman for Port of Tauranga confirmed that the ship has left its anchorage outside Tauranga Harbour and is en route to Malaysia.
Despite the confirmation a number of crew members have caught Covid, authorities say they remain asymptomatic.
Health officials last night reported that the last test result for a Port of Tauranga worker had come back negative for the virus.
A total of 110 people had to be tested for Covid-19 after being potentially exposed to the virus when the container ship was brought into the port at Tauranga.
The Rio de la Plata, a Singapore-flagged container ship, is the fourth overseas vessel confirmed to have Covid outbreaks as it travelled through New Zealand waters in recent months.
The latest ship affected is the Mattina, in Bluff, which reported positive cases on board last month.
Spanish-flagged vessels the Viking Bay and the Playa Zahara have also been struck by Covid in previous weeks.
The Mattina is still in quarantine at a secure berth in Bluff and as of yesterday morning, 13 of the original 21 mariners remain on board the vessel, the ministry said.
Five of the affected mariners finished their 14-day managed isolation period and were released on Saturday. They had consistently returned negative results, health authorities said.
Another Mattina crew member was transferred off the boat at a later date and is still in a managed isolation facility in Christchurch.
Two other mariners have since been discharged from hospital and are in accommodation organised by the Southern District Health Board.
They continue to be monitored by healthcare staff and are said to be recovering well.
The link between the Rio de la Plata, a marine pilot and Cairns taxi driver
The ship's departure comes after health authorities in Queensland yesterday confirmed that an infected marine pilot linked to the Rio de la Plata has the same Delta strain as a taxi driver in Cairns.
The pilot, in his 30s, piloted the container ship back in Queensland last month.
He came off the ship on July 23 and was driven to Cairns Airport by the taxi driver on July 26.
On July 31, the pilot - who is fully vaccinated - started to develop Covid symptoms and subsequently tested positive for the virus.
The taxi driver, in his 60s and who is not vaccinated, later tested positive for Covid-19.
Because he had been infectious in the community for 10 days, Cairns was plunged into a snap three-day lockdown.
Health officials continue to appeal to port workers, their close contacts and members of the Tauranga community to "remain vigilant" and to follow all health advice.
"Anyone in New Zealand who has symptoms consistent with Covid-19 should call Healthline (0800 358 5453) for advice on getting a test.
"Anyone who is tested should self-isolate at home until they return a negative test."