Nauru President addresses speculations on flight crew incident

Nauru President, Lionel Ainigimea has addressed speculation about an incident of flight crew from a freighter plane-testing positive for coronavirus.

On arrival in Nauru, Friday 8 May around 6.30pm, all five crew members did not disembark the plane but underwent the routine health screening by Nauru Health Officer for coronavirus, this includes the rapid diagnosis testing in the front gallery of the plane.

As a result, one of the members of the crew had a positive rapid test. A positive rapid test indicates that the person has likely been infected some time.

However, these rapid tests are not as accurate as the proper lab tests and the rapid test does not tell us when a person was infected or whether they are still contagious.

A formal laboratory test is needed which will clarify whether a person is still clarifying the virus or whether they have cleared the infection.

Regardless, the plane, its crew and remaining cargo were swiftly returned to Brisbane as advised by health travel restrictions under such circumstances.

The unloading of cargo was then immediately stopped, ground staff advised not to make contact with crew, and the 3 health officers moved to an isolation area within the airport and subsequently placed in isolation at the Menen Hotel. No other person was in contact with the crew.

Some cargo in the lower cargo of the plane had already been unloaded and deemed safe.

The President said the crew member having not shown any signs or symptoms, is initial indication of a strong immune system that is able to fight back the virus and highlighted that upon receiving the 5-member crew in Brisbane, Queensland health “didn’t panic,” instead advised the crew go into self-isolation and await further testing on Monday in Brisbane.

The plane and its cargo have been subsequently disinfected and cleared to resume flights. Nauru Airlines is making arrangements to bring back the remaining cargo either Sunday or Monday.

“Your government asks, lets get together to basically make a positive impact in our fight against coronavirus.”

“President Ainigimea expressed deep thanks to Australian Border Force, Queensland health authorities for accepting to allow Nauru Airlines to return with the crew and cargo on board.