Eight Air New Zealand staff test positive for coronavirus

Air New Zealand has today confirmed that eight of its staff have contracted Covid-19 coronavirus, and one of them has since recovered.

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1 NEWS report Katie Bradford explains the 24-month loan of up to $900 million. Source: Breakfast

The airline said in a statement this afternoon that all eight of the staff worked on long haul flights and had operated on flights to and from Los Angeles and London.

"They are at home and all appropriate MoH contact tracing and other procedures have been undertaken," a spokesperson said.

"None of these staff have flown since being diagnosed positive with Covid-19."

The news today comes after Air New Zealand announced earlier in the week it was putting out additional aircraft, including larger models, to ensure as many Kiwis as possible can arrive home before the country went into lockdown at midnight on Wednesday.

The airline continues to operate commercial flights domestically and internationally amid the lockdown.

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Sarah Stuart-Black said Air New Zealand should consider self-isolation as a first measure if employees get the virus. Source: 1 NEWS

At today's Covid-19 government press conference, Civil Defence Emergency Management Director Sarah Stuart-Black said she understood "a small number" of Air New Zealand's staff had been diagnosed with Covid-19, and suggested caution would be a good course of action.

"Whilst I understand that Air New Zealand has an enormous workforce, I think one of the issues we'll really need to be promoting really right across all industries and all organisations is the need to be cautionary here," Ms Stuart-Black said.

"Our baseline advice is, if in doubt self-isolate, thats the easiest thing to do, but we'll be waiting to see what Air New Zealand says."

Last Friday, Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced a rescue package for the airline to keep running.

The rescue package is a loan agreement of up to $900 million over the next 24 months. It will be repaid at a commercial rate of seven to nine per cent.