The release of a group of foreign fishermen from managed isolation in Christchurch is now on hold.
The first intake of 240 crew members was due to leave a managed isolation facility today after dozens of them who tested positive completed their stand-down.
This is now on hold, however, as health officials have confirmed a worker has caught the virus where they are staying at the Sudima Christchurch Airport hotel.
A delay would stretch out the second flight chartered by Sealord, Independent Fisheries and Maruha Nichiro.
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The companies signalled in September that unless border exemptions were made, seven deep sea trawlers would remain shore-bound - at a cost of tens of millions of dollars and many land-based jobs.
Sealord chief executive Doug Paulin said they hoped the Ministry of Health update at 1pm would signal when they could be cleared to leave.
He said there was no official timeline yet for the fishermen, or those on the next chartered flight.
Paulin said they want to ensure there was no risk to the community, even if it would mean a delay.
Once given the green light, the fishermen will be delivered by health officials to deep-sea fishing vessels at Lyttelton.
The first vessel will head out to open water, but some of them will have to wait in another vessel until the second flight arrives and these crew members complete their managed isolation requirements.
Sealord, Independent Fisheries and Maruha Nichiro are covering the flights, managed isolation and other costs.