Cruise ship from NZ brings 800 Covid cases to Australia
A cruise ship carrying some 800 passengers with Covid-19 has arrived in Australia.
The Majestic Princess, with about 4,600 passengers and crew on board, docked in Sydney early on Saturday morning and some of the passengers disembarked.
It had sailed from New Zealand, and was due to depart for Melbourne in the afternoon.
Operator Princess Cruises said virus patients had been isolating on board and every passenger had been given a rapid antigen test in the 24 hours before arrival.
Those who tested positive and chose to stay on the ship were required to isolate for at least five days.
All the cases were reportedly asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and those disembarking were warned to stay away from public transport.
In March 2020, a sister ship, the Ruby Princess had docked in Sydney with more than 600 infections, and caused 28 deaths.
But the cruise operator rejected any comparison, saying that was early in the pandemic and circumstances now were different.
One disembarking passenger was quoted as saying the ship’s crew had handled the outbreak carefully.
Passengers had worn masks for the last seven days and “were very careful when we went ashore”.
Local health officials assessed the risk level for the Majestic Princess as “Tier 3”, indicating a high level of transmission.
The outbreak comes after a surge in case numbers across Australia over the past week, with some state authorities asking residents to mask up in health facilities, indoors and on public transport.