Cruise Passengers in Sydney Cleared of Coronavirus

By Zusmee Byamba

Passengers in the Norwegian Jewel vessel berthed in Sydney have been cleared of coronavirus—now called COVID-19. Reports of a potential outbreak of the disease on board the ship have been causing concerns for many.

Due to the possible outbreak, the cruise ship was reported to be placed in lockdown as it arrived from Auckland to Sydney on Friday, but authorities confirmed Friday afternoon that the news was false.

“This morning, there were various false media reports related to illness onboard our ship. There is absolutely no truth to those stories,” Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson told SBS News.

“We have no guests with any respiratory-related illness on board. The vessel remains in operation, and all guests on board are in good health,” he said.

Some passengers reportedly said they were delayed for approximately 45 minutes before disembarking. Still, a spokesperson for the Port Authority of New South Wales told SBS News that the delay was caused by a new screening procedure implemented by New South Wales Health.

“Before anyone can disembark the ship, they are going on board, screening those passengers, and if all clear, everyone will come off the ship,” the spokesperson said.

“So, that is causing a delay, but the ship isn’t in lockdown or anything like that.”

The New South Wales Health spokesperson confirmed that there was no outbreak of the coronavirus after screening all passengers on board before disembarking.

“Passengers on a cruise ship arriving into Sydney this morning were assessed. None had been in China in the previous 14 days, and there was no outbreak of any disease on board.” NSW Health spokesperson said according to a tweet from an NHK journalist.

NSW health’s initial report of all passengers being in good health condition was later revised and said some passengers came down with a stomach illness, unrelated to the coronavirus.

“There were three routine medical transfers, none related to respiratory illness. One person has been tested for respiratory illness on board with results expected this afternoon,” the spokesperson said.

“Testing was done as a precaution as there is no indication that the person is at particular risk of COVID-19, and at this point, there is no concern for other passengers or people in and around Circular Quay,” the spokesperson continued.