Nearly 3,000 cruise passengers have been allegedly told that they could 'walk off and go home' without medical checks before at least 31 of them had been diagnosed with Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Royal Caribbean-owned liner Ovation of the Seas, which docked in Port Sydney NSW on March 18, has been linked to 31 COVID-19 cases in New South Wales alone.
Ovation OTS was one of 4 liners to dock in Sydney during the last week with infected guests aboard, with authorities fearing that the thousands who disembarked might have contributed to an increase in the number of Coronavirus cases in Australia.
There are currently 2725 confirmed cases across Australia. NSW has 1219 (plus 7 deaths) - the highest number nationwide.
However, 4 days after the cruisers arrived, they began receiving calls and emails from health officials, advising them to immediately self-isolate. Officials later discovered that a 67-year-old passenger (from Canada) had contracted COVID-19 and had been infectious for the last 2 days of the voyage.
The cruise vessel had been allowed to dock as it had not entered a foreign country. Ovation OTS was scheduled to cruise to New Zealand but was refused entry. It comes as police in NSW began to patrol docks in order to ensure no other infected travellers enter Australia.
There are still nearly 1,100 crew members on Ruby Princess, some of whom have flu-like symptoms. Ruby Princess sailed back to Sydney last Thursday with a total of 1,148 crew members and 2,647 passengers onboard - all who disembarked the cruise ship without going through any screenings or assessments for the virus. Since then, at least 133 cruise passengers have tested positive for COVID-19 which makes the vessel Australia's largest infection source.
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.