Nov 13, 2022 - World

Cruise ship with 800 positive COVID cases docks in Australia

The Majestic Princess cruise ship is seen docked at the International Terminal on Circular Quay in Sydney on November 12

The Majestic Princess cruise ship docked at the International Terminal in Sydney on Nov. 12. Photo: Muhammad Farooq/AFP via Getty Images

A cruise ship carrying roughly 800 passengers who had tested positive for COVID-19 docked in Sydney on Saturday morning, the Guardian reported.

Driving the news: The Majestic Princess cruise ship had been halfway through a 12-day trip from New Zealand to Australia when an outbreak of COVID cases was detected, Carnival Australia president Marguerite Fitzgerald said at a press briefing Saturday, CNN reported.

  • About 4,600 passengers and crew were aboard the ship when it arrived in Sydney, meaning that nearly one in five persons on board tested positive, per the BBC.
  • All of the cases were asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, Fitzgerald said, per the BBC.

State of play: "All COVID-positive people are isolating and being cared for by the onboard medical team," New South Wales Health said in a statement Saturday.

  • "NSW Health’s assessment is that the COVID-19 risk level for the Majestic Princess is now Tier 3, which indicates a high level of transmission," the statement added.
  • Passengers who tested negative on a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of the ship's arrival have been allowed to disembark. Meanwhile, Carnival Australia is working with officials to "make safe onward travel arrangements" for passengers who tested positive, NSW Health added.
  • Princess Cruises said in a statement that passengers who were positive for COVID-19 would disembark separately and not take public transport, per the Washington Post.
  • Company staff would help passengers positive for COVID-19 "with accessing private transport and accommodation to complete their isolation period," Fitzgerald said, the BBC reported.
  • The Majestic Princess set sail for Melbourne on Saturday afternoon, per the Guardian.

The big picture: Australia has been recently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.

  • "I can confirm we are entering the fourth wave of COVID," NSW's Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant told the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) on Friday.
  • The Majestic Princess' case drew comparisons to the Ruby Princess cruise ship, which arrived in New South Wales in the early days of the pandemic with more than 600 COVID-19 infections aboard.
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