Six passengers who flew with Emirates from Dubai to Perth, Western Australia have tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in the country on July 1. The positive cases were only confirmed on Sunday and other passengers on the same flight have been advised to self-monitor for symptoms and are also likely to be tested before being allowed to leave quarantine.
In a statement, the Department of Health for the Government of Western Australia said the six new cases were all passengers on the roughly 11-hour Emirates flight EK420 between Dubai and Perth on July 1. The passengers are four women and two men aged between 40 and 64 years old.
Officials confirmed that all the cases were returning Western Australians from the metropolitan area of Perth but did not say whether they started their journeys in Dubai or had simply transited through the United Arab Emirates from a third country. The new cases represent a 66 per cent increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in Western Australia.
“The Department of Health is interviewing all passengers on the flight, who are also all in hotel quarantine, to ascertain if there were any close contacts to the newly diagnosed cases onboard,” officials said in a statement.
“There are now nine active cases in Western Australia. To date, 600 people have recovered from the virus in WA (Western Australia).”
Emirates only resumed flights to Perth three weeks ago after grounding its entire fleet on March 25 as an emergency measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At present, the airline is only operating one flight per week to the Western Australian city on a Boeing 777-300.
Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, rival Persian Gulf carrier Qatar Airways has continued to operate flights to Perth. Imported COVID-19 cases have been linked to six different Qatar Airways flights since mid-May.
Emirates was forced to temporarily suspend flights from Pakistan following the discovery that 26 passengers on a single flight were found to be infected with COVID-19 after transiting through Dubai and taking the same flight together to Hong Kong. On Monday, officials in Hong Kong confirmed that another passenger on the June 20 flight had just tested positive for Coronavirus – 15 days after the flight arrived in the city.
Passengers flying with Emirates must wear a face mask throughout their flight and cabin crew are kitted out in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including googles and disposable gowns. There is little evidence to suggest in-flight transmission of COVID-19 between passengers is common but globally, there have been a few confirmed cases of cabin crew and pilots being infected from one another.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.