A Qantas worker has tested positive to the coronavirus after making a cross-country flight from Darwin to Sydney.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant revealed the infection on Wednesday morning.
The male worker flew into Darwin from Paris on QF176 – a repatriation flight – on December 17. On December 18, he flew as a passenger on QF841 to Sydney.
“I’d like to note that we have had a case in a Qantas staff member, who has returned from overseas and flown in through Darwin,” she said.
In a statement to the ABC, Qantas said the man developed mild symptoms while self-isolating at home on Sunday, December 20, and subsequently returned a positive coronavirus test.
Dr Ian Hosegood said the man had no symptoms on either Qantas flight and the risk of transmission was “low”.
“The crew member did not have symptoms when operating the repatriation flight or when travelling on the domestic sector, and was wearing a mask throughout both flights, so the risk of transmission is low,” he said.
“The domestic flight occurred more than 48 hours prior to symptom onset.”
Qantas will provide the flight manifest to NSW Health to help with contact tracing.
NSW confirmed eight more COVID infections on Wednesday, including seven linked to the Northern Beaches outbreak.
It is grown to 97 infections.
Wednesday’s other case is a close contact of a quarantine nurse whose infection was confirmed on Tuesday. The nurse was not infected at work and NSW Health believes both cases are more likely linked to the outbreak in Sydney’s north.
“That person’s case is closest to the Avalon cluster cases and we’re obviously investigating the connection,” Dr Chant said.
“At this point, we have not got a perfect connection, but with some additional genomic sequencing data, we’ll be pursuing a number of other additional avenues.”