An airplane of Air New Zealand coming from Tokyo was held for several hours on ground after landing at Auckland airport, due to a flu scare which later proved to be less serious than it first seemed.
About 70 Japanese students present onboard displayed flu symptoms, according to a message sent by the airline to the airport’s health officials.
Men in white overalls and wearing masks entered the plane to examine passengers, while local hospitals have been warned to prepare for mass patient admissions.
All passengers were later cleared as healthy and could leave the plane.
A number of passengers were unhappy with the poor communication and the apparent chaotic way in which the situation was handled. A spokesperson from the airport said that it appeared there had been “an overreaction”, but that it was better than under-reacting.
New Zealand’s health minister Tony Ryall said that he had been told that in Japan it was flu season. There was however no reason to believe that the students’ problem was anything more than normal flu, he added.