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Flight risk: COVID-positive passenger was on packed Jetstar plane to Maroochydore


Jetstar has revealed that a Sydney-to-Maroochydore flight carrying a passenger with COVID-19 was nearly full — but the airline insists the risk of transmission was low.

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Queensland Health advised on Sunday that a passenger on Friday’s Flight JQ790 had tested positive.

Jetstar, which said there were 149 passengers aboard the 186-seat aircraft, maintained risk of transmission of COVID-19 on a flight was “extremely low”.

“The air inside the cabin is also refreshed every few minutes, ensuring the highest possible quality of cabin air,” a spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the company’s Fly Well program included a range of measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

This included the provision of a pack which contained a face masks and sanitising wipes ahead of boarding.

But the passengers on the flight from Sydney weren’t required to wear masks, which were only mandatory for flights to and from Victoria.

Quarantine exemption

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, confirmed the passenger was infectious during the 90-minute domestic flight.

The passenger had been on a flight from Afghanistan.

He was a consulate staffer — a role listed by Queensland Health as one of the few exempt from the mandatory 14 days’ hotel quarantine.

Legally, consular employees who arrived in Queensland from overseas had to “travel directly to their residence and self-quarantine”.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was looking to have that legislation changed.

“I think now is the time for overseas travellers to definitely go into mandatory hotel quarantine,” she said.

“There have been some exemptions.

“I don’t think the time is right, now, for those exemptions. However, that is going to be a matter for the chief health officers around the country to look at.”

Queensland Health has been undertaking contact tracing to try and get in touch with the passengers onboard the flight.

All passengers have been urged to monitor their health and immediately get tested if they get any COVID-19 symptoms.

The most common symptoms include of COVID-19 include a fever, cough, and a loss of smell and taste.

– ABC / Kathy Sundstrom

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