BusinessDay

Australia’s major cruise ship stokes fear of COVID-19 outbreak

A large cruise ship, destined to arrive in Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales (NSW), has been struck by a Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, leaving more than 2,000 guests affected on the ship.

More than 100 passengers and staff were infected on the cruise ship, Coral Princess, which traveled from the state of Queensland and is due to dock in NSW, the national broadcaster ABC reported on Tuesday.

The NSW health department said on Tuesday that the vast majority of COVID-19 cases on the ship are crew members.

While a small number of passengers have been diagnosed with the virus on the ship, their infections were most likely acquired prior to boarding.

All COVID-positive people are isolated and being cared for by the onboard medical team.

The health department assessed the risk level of this outbreak as “amber”, which indicates a moderate impact on the vessel.

The ship is currently heading to the South Coast of NSW. No crew members will disembark and all passengers disembarking will be requested to return a negative RAT result first.

It is also scheduled to be docked in NSW’s Sydney for one day on Wednesday before traveling to Queensland’s capital, Brisbane.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath told local media on Monday that COVID-19 protocols were in place on the ship before the outbreak, and the outbreak on the cruise ship was expected.

“This was always going to happen just like the rest of the community,” D’Ath said.

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“The virus is everywhere and there’s no escaping that, but I do want to acknowledge that the public health units, along with the cruise line, are doing all the right things and following the protocols in place.”

Queensland reported 6,768 new COVID-19 cases and 860 hospitalisations on Tuesday, with the number of active cases now at 43,047.

NSW reported 10,806 new COVID-19 cases and 2,049 hospitalisations in the past 24 hours to 4:00 p.m. Monday.

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