Several cruise ships unable to dock over coronavirus fears
WELLINGTON: Several cruise ships in different parts of the world were unable to dock because there was infection or suspected infection on board.
Passengers on the Golden Princess cruise liner were barred from disembarking at a New Zealand port yesterday because of a suspected coronavirus case, health officials said.
There were 2,600 passengers and 1,100 crew on the boat docked at Akaroa, near the South Island city of Christchurch, according to the port's cruise ship schedule.
New Zealand's director-general of health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said three passengers have been quarantined by the ship's doctor. One of them has developed Covid-19 symptoms and is being treated as a suspected case.
"All on board are not being allowed off the ship until results are known," Dr Bloomfield said.
The health scare arose just three days after Princess Cruises announced it was suspending voyages worldwide for two months in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Princess Cruises has already seen two of its vessels hit by the virus and quarantined: the Diamond Princess, which docked in Japan, and the Grand Princess, which docked in California.
Dr Bloomfield would not be drawn on what would happen to the Golden Princess until test results of the three passengers are known today.
Chile has quarantined more than 1,300 people aboard two cruise ships after a Briton, 85, aboard one of them tested positive for the virus, the health ministry announced on Saturday.
Both ships are cruising the Chilean fjords in Patagonia.
The other ship, the Azamara Pursuit - with 665 passengers and nearly 400 crew - had earlier crossed into Chilean waters from the southern Argentine port of Ushuaia.
The ship is currently near the port of Chacabuco after the authorities banned it from landing passengers there, on grounds that it was carrying suspected cases of the coronavirus.
A Canadian, 78, who was on a cruise ship isolated in Brazil's north-eastern port of Recife has tested positive, Brazilian TV network Globo reported on Saturday.
The ship with 609 people on board has been isolated in Recife since last Thursday after the elderly passenger showed symptoms. - AFP, REUTERS