Cruise ship with 800 Covid-positive passengers docks in Sydney



CNN

A cruise ship with hundreds of Covid-positive passengers docked in Sydney, Australia, after being hit by a wave of infections.

The Majestic Princess cruise ship was about halfway through a 12-day cruise when an outbreak was noticed, Carnival Australia president Marguerite Fitzgerald told reporters at a media briefing on Saturday.

The ship had 4,600 passengers and crew on board at the time, according to CNN’s Nine News affiliate.

After mass testing of 3,300 passengers, around 800 tested positive for Covid-19, as did a small number of crew, Fitzgerald said.

“All positive cases were mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic, and those guests were isolated in their rooms and then separated from unaffected guests,” said Princess Cruises parent company representative Briana Later, according to CNN.

Cruise operators escorted those infected off the ship separately and advised them to complete a five-day isolation period, CNN affiliate Nine News reported.

Those who tested negative were allowed to leave the ship, the New South Wales Health statement read.

“Carnival has advised NSW Health that they are assisting passengers with Covid-19 to make safe onward travel arrangements,” the statement added.

Latter said the cases on board the Majestic Princess “reflect an increase in community transmission in Australia.”

Australia has seen an increase in Covid cases recently, leading to increased government warning.

The New South Wales Department of Health has recorded 19,800 new cases of Covid-19 and 22 deaths in the past week.

The Majestic Princess cruise ship has since departed Sydney on its next voyage to Melbourne and Tasmania.

In a later statement, Fitzgerald said Carnival Australia had done over 50 international and domestic cruises “with the vast majority of more than 100,000 guests unaffected by Covid.”
“However, the emergence of Covid in the community has meant that we have seen an increase in positive cases on the last three cruises,” he said.

Fitzgerald said the company had been implementing “the most rigorous and rigorous measures that go far beyond current guidelines”, including requiring 95% of guests over the age of 12 to be vaccinated and tested staff and passengers about Covid before they board the bus.

“We take our responsibility to keep everyone safe very seriously. This extends not only to looking after our guests, but also to the wider community in which we operate and visit,” said Fitzgerald.

The Grand Princess is not the first Carnival cruise to be hit by an outbreak of Covid.

At least three other ships within the company’s Princess fleet – the Ruby Princess, Diamond Princess, and Grand Princess – experienced outbreaks earlier in the pandemic.

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