Rotorua Airport is "confident" it's done everything to keep everyone safe after a person who later tested positive for Covid-19 caught a flight at the airport.
The Ministry of Health confirmed the person flew to Blenheim from Rotorua Airport. It said the transmission risk to the public appeared low.
Yesterday, Rotorua Airport on Te Ngae Rd was added as a location of interest for Wednesday, October 20, between 4pm and 5pm, and Thursday, October 21, between 6.30am and 7.15am.
A Ministry of Health spokesman told the Rotorua Daily Post the person was at the airport on both occasions.
The individual did not travel directly from Te Awamutu and the majority of the individual's small network of close contacts are in Waikato, the spokesman said.
The ministry did not yet know whether the person was given an exemption to cross the Level 3 Waikato border.
People are asked to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days if at the location at these times. If symptoms develop they should get tested and stay home until a negative test result and 24 hours after symptoms resolve.
Rotorua Airport chairman Peter Stubbs said it was "disappointing" to hear about the case.
Stubbs said he and the interim chief executive Logan Charters-Leahy found out yesterday, two days after the case had been there.
The case was on Flight NZ8231 Rotorua to Wellington on Thursday and is believed to be linked to the Te Awamutu cluster.
Stubbs said the airport had strict cleaning protocols and was cleaned daily which meant the airport had had two big cleans before the news broke.
"We're pretty confident, from our perspective, we've done everything we should've been doing.
"I think the risks are incredibly low."
Stubbs was not aware of any staff being asked to self-isolate.
He said staff vaccination rates were in the high 90s and staff were separated "as much as possible" from passengers.
"Our people have done a great job of protecting themselves on an ongoing basis, not only by double vaccination but also protocols they follow in cleaning, PPE and distancing.
"We're very lucky people take this very seriously. We realise the right to travel is important."
Stubbs said he had not heard from Charters-Leahy regarding the impact of flights and hoped people would not fear going on flights or through the airport.
He said they were not worried about this as they had put a "huge" effort into keeping everyone safe.
An Air New Zealand spokesman said passengers on flight NZ8231 Rotorua to Wellington and NZ8725 Wellington to Blenheim on October 21 are advised to follow the Ministry of Health guidelines.
He did not say how many people were on the flights and how many cabin crews were affected, or how many people cancelled their flights following the announcement.
He said there were "very stringent" protocols in place to protect customers and employees including deep cleaning of aircraft, and PPE for flight crew.
"We, along with our medical team and the Ministry of Health, review these regularly to ensure our procedures are best practice."
The ministry said the current public health assessment was that the risk appeared low given the individual's likely late stage of infection.
"The individual flew from Rotorua and arrived in Blenheim on [Thursday]. The individual sought a test upon arrival after developing a sore throat. The initial test, including a follow-up swab, returned a weak positive result.
"So far, initial case interviews have identified a small number of close contacts, who have been contacted and are currently isolating with tests arranged.
"Interviews are also being undertaken to determine any locations of interest."
Lakes DHB Covid Incident Controller Gary Lees told the Rotorua Daily Post the testing team had been informed that there may be additional demand for testing as more details of the case emerge. Staffing will be adjusted as required, he said.
"People with symptoms or who were at any place of interest that is published should check the availability of testing locations on Healthpoint," Lees said.