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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health has this afternoon confirmed positive COVID-19 test results for two mariners, who are currently isolating on a vessel at sea off the coast of Taranaki. 

The mariners are part of a group of nine who arrived in Auckland on Monday before being transferred onto a deep sea fishing vessel in New Plymouth.

Health officials currently regard the situation as representing a low risk to public health due to standard infection prevention controls.

All nine provided negative COVID-19 pre-departure test results before travelling to New Zealand.

Following these initial negative tests and their arrival in New Zealand, the mariners were tested again at an airport testing site in Auckland prior to transfer to the vessel at Port Taranaki.

The seven other mariners have since returned negative COVID-19 tests.

The vessel has now left New Plymouth and is in international waters off the coast of Taranaki. All nine mariners are still onboard and isolating.

The Ministry of Health is now reviewing the flight and airport movements of the mariners as part of the contact tracing process.

Due to the standard infection prevention controls and other precautions taken there is minimal additional risk to any of the contacts during the transfer process.

At this point, public health staff have identified three contacts who are currently isolating, including two people who work at the port and the driver who transported the mariners from Auckland to New Plymouth.

Health authorities in Taranaki and Auckland will be following up and all three will receive their routine tests while in isolation.

At this stage, there are no associated locations of interest.