An international flight attendant has tested positive for COVID-19 only after she was released from 14-days in hotel quarantine in Brisbane, Australia. The flight attendant was only told she could be infectious after she had been shopping in a busy mall and had spent the afternoon in downtown Brisbane.
Contact tracers phoned the flight attendant with the bad news as she sat down for dinner in a busy restaurant.
The flight attendant, aged in her 30’s, was identified as a close contact of a passenger onboard an Emirates flight from Dubai to Brisbane on June 5 who tested positive for the highly infectious Delta variant.
Queensland Health did not say whether they put the flight attendant into quarantine because she was a close contact. Ordinarily, international aircrew only stay for a couple of days in Australia before returning home but in recent months a number of crew members have been made to stay longer for quarantine purposes.
The flight attendant was released from hotel quarantine at 9:00 am on Saturday without, it would appear, the need for a negative test. However, as part of routine aircrew surveillance testing, the woman did take a COVID-19 test after being released from quarantine.
The positive result came back the same day but only after the flight attendant had been mixing in the community. Community COVID-19 cases are incredibly rare in Queensland and the government only recently lifted some Coronavirus restrictions.
Queenslanders have now been put on high alert and fellow shoppers at an indoor shopping mall have been ordered to self-isolate.
“The woman has visited several locations, including the Airport DFO, Brisbane CBD, and a restaurant in Ellen Grove,” Dr Jeannette Young, Queensland’s chief health officer said. “We are urgently contact tracing people with whom she shared a shuttle bus, at her accommodation, and at the restaurant.
Genomic sequencing revealed on Sunday evening that the flight attendant had not been infected with the Delta variant. That might suggest she was infected during her stay in hotel quarantine.
Photo Credit: Emirates
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.