Qantas flight diverted to Sydney after baggage handlers test positive

A Qantas flight was forced to make a mid-air U-turn on 31 March after baggage handlers working for the airline tested positive for coronavirus.

Flight QF741 left Sydney at 3.34pm local time, and was due to reach Adelaide at 5.15pm.

However, about an hour into the flight, news broke that six Qantas baggage handlers based in Adelaide had tested positive for Covid-19.

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There were no other Qantas staff available to service incoming flights, reports. This prompted the flight to be diverted back to Sydney, where it landed just after 6pm. 

A number of flights due to depart Adelaide were also cancelled at short notice.

In a statement posted to its Twitter account, Adelaide Airport said: “We have this afternoon been advised of cases of COVID-19 involving Qantas employees working in the baggage handling area away from public areas.

“We are assisting SA Health by notifying other stakeholders who work within the terminal precinct, as well as informing and supporting our own staff.

“SA Health has advised that other areas of the terminal, including public areas, are unaffected at this time.

“SA Health has advised any passengers who arrived on flights in the past 24 hours to wipe their baggage and monitor their health.”

Flights out of the airport from 1 April are currently scheduled to operate as normal.

Confirming the incident, the South Australia Health Department said in a statement: “We are currently investigating six cases of COVID-19 in Qantas baggage handlers at Adelaide Airport.

“We are working closely with Qantas to ensure flights are not disrupted and the carousel area is fully cleaned.”

There are currently 337 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state of South Australia, and 4,557 across the entire country.

Australia is already restricting entry for foreigners and is increasingly restricting domestic travel.

Despite this, The Independent was still able to book a last minute Australian cruise with Cunard.

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