A cruise ship with hundreds of Covid-positive passengers has docked in Sydney, Australia, after being hit by a wave of infections.
The Majestic Princess cruise ship was about halfway through a 12-day voyage when an outbreak of cases was noticed, Carnival Australia president Marguerite Fitzgerald told reporters at a conference on Saturday. hurry.
The ship had 4,600 passengers and crew on board at the time, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.
After mass testing 3,300 passengers, around 800 tested positive for Covid-19, as did a small number of crew, Fitzgerald said.
“All of the positive cases were mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic, and those guests self-isolated in their cabins and then separated from unaffected guests,” Briana Latter, a representative for parent company Princess Cruises, told CNN.
Cruise operators separately escorted those infected off the ship and advised them to complete a five-day period of isolation, CNN affiliate Nine News reported.
Those who tested negative were allowed to leave the ship, a statement from New South Wales Health said.
“Carnival has informed NSW Health that they are assisting passengers with Covid-19 to arrange their journey safely,” the statement added.
The latter said the outbreak aboard the Majestic Princess “reflected an increase in community transmission in Australia”.
Australia has recently seen an increase in Covid cases, which has led to greater government caution.
The New South Wales Department of Health recorded 19,800 new cases of Covid-19 and 22 deaths last week.
The Majestic Princess cruise ship has since left Sydney on its next voyage to Melbourne and Tasmania.
In a later statement, Fitzgerald said Carnival Australia had completed more than 50 international and domestic trips “with a large majority of over 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 over the last three trips,” she said.
Fitzgerald said the company has implemented “the most rigorous and stringent measures that go well beyond current guidelines,” including requiring 95% of customers over the age of 12 to be vaccinated and testing the staff and passengers for Covid before they board.
“We take our responsibility to keep everyone safe very seriously. This extends not only to the care of our customers, but also to the wider community in which we operate and visit,” said Fitzgerald.
The Majestic Princess is not the first Carnival cruise to be hit by a Covid outbreak.
At least three other ships in the company’s Princess fleet – the Ruby Princess, the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess – experienced outbreaks earlier in the pandemic.