COVID-infected passenger in Brisbane Airport ‘green zone’

One of two travellers on a 'red' flight from coronavirus-hotspot Papua New Guinea has tested positive to COVID-19 after breaching the 'green zone' at Brisbane's International terminal.

Premier Annastacia Palazczuk this morning confirmed Queensland had three new cases - two acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine and one which was detected in Brisbane Airport's International Terminal.

Two passengers who travelled on the "red" flight from Port Moresby to Brisbane on Thursday morning breached the "green zone" in the international terminal at Brisbane Airport.

Queensland Health last night said one of the passengers had returned a inconclusive test for coronavirus and would be retested. The second had tested negative.

The inconclusive test was this morning confirmed to be COVID-positive, sparking fears the virus may have spread because the passenger roamed freely among 'green flight' passengers for several hours.

Prior to arrival in Queensland both had tested negative.

Brisbane Airport Corporation confirmed on Thursday afternoon that due to "human error", two passengers had proceeded into the green zone of Brisbane Airport despite coming off a red flight.

The passengers were in the terminal for just under two hours. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle
The passengers were in the terminal for just under two hours. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle

The passengers were in the green zone for just under two hours, where they sat at a retail outlet from 9.55am to 11.20am.

One of the passengers then used the bathroom and went to another retailer before they were eventually located by staff and returned to the red zone.

Queensland Health is now investigating the circumstances of the breach with BAC, saying it was due to human error.

During this time, three green flights departed the terminal to New Zealand with approximately 390 passengers on board.

However it is believed only a handful of passengers were in the vicinity of the two "red zone" passengers at any time.

The New Zealand Ministry of Health reported the passengers were at the Hudson Cafe in the airport.

NZ health authorities assessed the risk as low but warned those on arrival who had travelled from Brisbane Airport to monitor their health over the next 14 days.

BAC has said that all the areas the passengers visited in the terminal have been thoroughly cleaned and all workers and passengers in the green area were wearing PPE.


In a tweet, BAC apologised for "unreservedly" for the mistake.

"This was due to human error, for which we unreservedly apologise. We are working with all relevant authorities to investigate the circumstances," BAC wrote.

A flight is designated "red" if it is coming from a high-risk country such as PNG.

Passengers will have to undergo health screening at the airport terminal and may have to undertake the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine.

Only passengers who have been in New Zealand for 14 days prior to travel are considered to be from a green zone.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the two passengers posed a low risk to others.

"While at the airport, they wore masks and socially distanced and neither has reported symptoms," she said.

"They were in the wrong zone through no fault of their own and we appreciate their patience and cooperation while we rule them out as cases.

"We're also grateful for the prompt action by Brisbane airport staff once the mistake was identified."




Originally published as 'Human error' blamed for Brisbane Airport COVID breach

Crash driver drowned sorrows after cat death

Premium Content Crash driver drowned sorrows after cat death

A man has apologised to the court after crashing into a parked car while more than...

‘Prized’ national record shows Jude’s world class

Premium Content ‘Prized’ national record shows Jude’s world class

His sensational time of 14 minutes and two seconds bettered the previous standard ...

More police to Ipswich amid crime concerns

Premium Content More police to Ipswich amid crime concerns

Seven new police recruits will be stationed across Ipswich as part of Queensland...