Queensland Health Authorities are blaming human error for a major COVID-19 breach at Brisbane Airport.
A health alert has been issued after two transiting passengers who travelled on a “red flight” flight from Papua New Guinea were accidentally allowed into the airport’s “green” departure zone on Thursday morning.
The pair were in the green zone for around two hours with other passengers due to depart for New Zealand and entered shops and used a bathroom before being tracked down by staff when they realised the error.
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Thankfully both passengers reportedly tested negative for COVID-19 prior to entering Queensland.
They were also tested in Brisbane yesterday afternoon, with one passenger returning a negative result.
Queensland Health said the other test was equivocal, meaning it did not indicate either a positive or negative test.
“More samples have been sent to Queensland Health’s Forensic and Scientific Services laboratory for confirmatory testing,” Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said.
It’s understood the pair, who aren’t showing any virus symptoms, wore masks and socially distanced.
“They were in the wrong zone through no fault of their own and we appreciate their patience and cooperation while we rule them out as cases,” Dr Young said.
“We’re also grateful for the prompt action by Brisbane airport staff once the mistake was identified.”
Brisbane Airport has also released a statement apologising for the breach.
“At approximately 9:30am, two transit passengers arrived on a ‘red’ flight from Port Moresby and proceeded through screening to transit as per normal process,” the statement said.
“Initial review of CCTV indicates that at approximately 9:55am, these passengers were incorrectly allowed into the ‘green zone’.
“The breach is due to human error, and BAC is currently working with all relevant authorities including Queensland Health to investigate the circumstances of the breach.”
The three New Zealand flights affected by the blunder are Air New Zealand NZ202 from Brisbane to Christchurch, Air New Zealand NZ146 from Brisbane to Auckland, and Qantas QF135 from Brisbane to Christchurch.