Passengers on Golden Princess (P&O Pacific Adventure) were denied disembarkation at a New Zealand cruise port on Sunday, March 15 due to a suspected Coronavirus (COVID-19) case on board, NZ health officials revealed. The cruise ship (carrying ~2600 passengers plus ~1100 crew) docked at Akaroa Harbour close to Christchurch.
NZ's director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, announced 3 passengers had been quarantined by the doctor aboard the ship. One of them developed Coronavirus symptoms and is treated as a suspected case. Bloomfield said that all onboard were not being allowed off the liner until results were known.
The health scare arose just 3 days after Princess Cruises officially suspended passenger shipping operations worldwide for 2 months in response to the pandemic. The company is allowing voyages within their last 5 days to complete but cruises ongoing as of March 17 would end early at the most convenient port location.
Golden Princess was already in NZ waters before Wellington on Saturday banned future cruise ship arrivals until June 30 under strict Coronavirus-related regulations.
An NZ public health specialist, Brian Cox from the University of Otago, said in case coronavirus was confirmed on Golden Princess then the remaining cruise passengers should not remain onboard. The decision to quarantine 3700 crew and passengers on Diamond Princess in Japan was criticized after over 700 people eventually tested positive for COVID-19.
Removing passengers from the vessel and placing them in self-isolation for 2 weeks was the safest option, he added.
On Saturday, New Zealand announced that international tourists would have to self-isolate on arrival for 14 days, with similar measures announced by Australia on Sunday.
For other Golden Princess accidents and incidents see at the ship's CruiseMinus page.
For Coronavirus updates on cruise ship quarantines (infected passengers and crew) and top-pandemic countries (COVID-19 cases and deaths, daily updated statistics) see at CruiseMapper's Norovirus page.