By RNZ

A crew member on the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha has tested positive for Covid-19.

The positive test result was returned during routine testing of the ship’s crew after a port visit to Guam, the Defence Force said in a statement this evening.

The sailor, who is asymptomatic, is receiving medical advice and support, and is in isolation on the ship. All other crew members have returned negative tests.

The 174 crew members on board the ship are vaccinated.

The Defence Force statement said several measures were being carried out to prevent potential transmission of the virus, including anti-viral cleaning of the ship, hand sanitising, wearing face masks and physical distancing.

Movements on board have been restricted, and all crew members are also having daily health screening and temperature checks.

“HMNZS Te Kaha will continue to participate in the Five Power Defence Arrangements Exercise Bersama Gold 21, which is under way,” the Defence Force said.

“The naval component of the exercise is being carried out ‘contactless’, off the coast of Singapore and the Malaysian Peninsula, with no physical interactions with personnel from other militaries.

“Exercises with international militaries are designed to enhance interoperability and strengthen relationships.

“The FPDA countries are Australia, United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand. The Navy tanker HMNZS Aotearoa is also participating in this exercise.”

HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Aotearoa were deployed from New Zealand in September.

The ships have been operating in the Philippine and South China Seas with international military partners, including the British Carrier Strike Group.

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