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Flight Grounded At New Zealand's Christchurch After Detecting Passengers With Contagious Norovirus.

An Air New Zealand flight was grounded last Wednesday following a virus scare on board. It was feared that a group of passengers had an exposure to Norovirus, a contagious stomach bug that has been causing vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

The affected flight was Air New Zealand's Mt Cook flight NZ5374 from Queenstown to Christchurch. It was held on the tarmac and passengers were not allowed to leave, as health authorities were called in. By that time, many passengers reported feeling unwell, said a report in ( New Zealand Herald.

Air NZ Reaction

Explaining the incident, the Air New Zealand spokesperson said, "There were some unwell passengers in a tour party of 40. Some told our cabin crew that the group had been exposed to Norovirus." After consulting the health officials, the unwell passengers were told they would not be accepted for further travel and were requested to deboard. "We had to delay the flight because we had to seek the advice of the Canterbury regional public health authorities," a spokeswoman added.

Reacting to the incident, Air New Zealand's Chief Medical Officer, Tim Sprott, said there were obvious concerns that some passengers on board had the highly contagious gastrointestinal infection Norovirus. Sprott said it was unfortunate that some passengers chose to board the flight from Queenstown to Christchurch knowing that some are unwell because of Norovirus.

''Flying when ill is against the norms of international airlines and their medical guidelines. It is also against Air New Zealand's own policies," the Medical officer said. The officer added that by making the decision to travel, despite medical advice in recent days, the "group showed utter disregard for the health and well-being of their fellow travellers," reported ( TV NZ.

Tweet Updates

Meanwhile, an impatient passenger kept updating on the flight delay with his timely tweets. That was Charles Finney, a passenger, who started the tweet as: "The flight is not being allowed to leave at Christchurch airport because health authorities are worried that passengers might have contagious virus! It is a first for me!"

The same passenger kept updating the situation, saying he was "furious" that the tour group boarded the flight fully knowing that many of them were unwell. Finally, at 10:40 am, Finney tweeted that he was "free at last", but extremely unhappy at the missing meetings and connecting flights.

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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Oct 30, 2014
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