An American Airlines flight from Australia to Los Angeles was canceled Friday after a flight crew member tested positive for COVID-19.
American Flight 72 was scheduled to leave Sydney at 9 a.m. local time, but according to the airline’s website it is scheduled to depart at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
“An American Airlines flight scheduled to depart Sydney this morning has been postponed due to a possible COVID-19 case with a flight crew member. The crew member has been tested as part of routine surveillance,” New South Wales health officials said in a statement.
It is identified as a possible case as it is not yet known whether the crew member who had mild symptoms still tested positive from a previous COVID infection but is no longer infectious. Antibody tests will determine that, government officials said at a press conference in Sydney on Friday.
The Daily Telegraph, a newspaper in Sydney, called the incident a “Covid horror at the airport”.
However, an official at the press conference said positive tests occur among flight crews on a weekly basis.
“It’s not a surprise,” said one officer. “Our flight crews come from countries where COVID is transmitted quite frequently.”
Americans are investigating the problem, airline officials told US TODAY.
Australia is considered a major COVID-19 success story for its efforts to fight the spread of the virus Medical Advisor to the White House Dr. Anthony Fauci praise the country’s efforts over the past month.
Sydney has strict rules for flight crews. Pilots and flight attendants from outside the country will be tested for COVID-19 upon landing and then have to stay in a quarantine hotel and test every 5-7 days in quarantine and again on day 12, the last day of quarantine. Those who refuse to be tested cannot leave the quarantine.