Man diagnosed with coronavirus defends decision to travel

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

A man has defended his decision to travel from Australia to New Zealand despite not hearing the result from a coronavirus test he voluntarily took following a trip to France.

Andre Reynaud, 69, and his wife Jane Pirani flew to Wellington less than 24 hours after he arrived back to Townsville, Queensland, from France, where he had travelled for a funeral.

He took a test “immediately” after hearing it was available, but given he displayed no symptoms, never thought he would test positive so continued his planned travel, according to a statement shared to the Ann Roberts School of Dance Facebook page, where he is the manager.

“On the morning of Friday 13th March there was no advice from authorities recommending self-isolation after overseas travel or mandatory testing for COVID-19, so feeling fit and well, we continued on to Wellington as planned,” the statement read.

Not long after arrival in New Zealand, and while dining at a cafe, Mr Reynaud was informed his tests results returned positive to the virus.

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“Immediately we returned to our hotel, quarantined ourselves and contacted local health authorities,” the post said.

Andre has defended his decision not to wait for his results. Source: Facebook/Ann Roberts School of Dance

“Our decision to travel to New Zealand was made with the best of intentions and with the best information available in Australia or New Zealand before we departed.”

They added it wasn’t until March 15 that mandatory self isolation came into effect, therefore up until that point they weren’t certain of the correct protocol.

“Had these restrictions been in place or had Andre had any idea that he was carrying the disease, despite feeling fit and well, we would not have travelled.”

The man did not wait for his test result before flying to New Zealand. Source: Getty Images

The couple have remained in Wellington where they will stay for at least 14 days in self isolation.

They also said the people Mr Reynaud came in close contact with while in Townsville - his wife, daughter, and two staff members - were not at risk but are all in isolation for 14 days regardless.

“The simple truth of our situation is that if Andre had not voluntarily reported for testing, we would never had known he even had the virus.

“Him taking extra care has reduced the risk of community transmission despite the unwanted attention and abuse it has brought us and our staff.”

The man visited the Milk Crate cafe in Wellington on Saturday while infected. Source: Google Maps/Hajin Kim

The cafe in Wellington they visited, Milk Crate, has since announced to its customers they may be at risk of infection if they came into contact with the man, who was there Saturday between 11am and 11.30am.

The post said the business would be closing its doors until it was “absolutely certain” it would be safe to reopen.

Meanwhile, a state of emergency has been declared in Victoria, Western Australia and the ACT to deal with the spread of the virus.

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