Covid-19 coronavirus: Positive patient from Fiji arrives in New Zealand. Video / Hayden Woodward
A Covid-19 patient being transferred from Fiji to New Zealand for treatment is believed to have arrived at Auckland Airport this evening.
The case – understood to be a high-profile World Health Organization (WHO) staffer – was flown to New Zealand seeking hospital treatment.
A small white plane landed at Auckland Airport around 6.30pm.
People in white suits could be seen on the tarmac while an ambulance was parked next to the plane.
The transfer request was initially declined by New Zealand health authorities on “clinical grounds” but the Ministry of Health later confirmed the approval followed agreement by metro-Auckland District Health Boards to treat the patient.
It is understood that the woman works for the WHO, but the ministry said it was bound by privacy considerations.
Former Prime Minister Helen Clark, also a former United Nations Development Programme boss, told NZME that the woman was heading to Middlemore Hospital.
Clark said the woman’s mercy flight had been requested by the UN.
“I have total confidence in Middlemore Hospital and its first class ICU. They have done an outstanding job throughout the pandemic and indeed during all emergencies to which they respond,” Clark said.
“In this case, Counties Manukau and Middlemore have stepped up to respond to a UN request, which will be hugely appreciated by the UN and the patient and her family. NZ is the first port of call for Medevac by the UN in the Pacific and all costs are met in full by it.
“Many people worked together to make this Medevac possible. Particular thanks are due to Counties Manukau DHB and ICU at Middlemore.”
The Herald asked the WHO on Tuesday to confirm that the patient worked for them.