A cruise ship carrying hundreds of Covid-positive passengers 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’s president Marguerite Fitzgerald told reporters in a media briefing on Saturday.
The ship was carrying 4,600 passengers and crew at the time, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.
After mass testing of 3,300 passengers, about 800 tested positive for Covid-19, as did a small number of crew members, Fitzgerald said.
“All positive cases were mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic, and those guests isolated in their staterooms and then separated from uninfected guests,” parent company Princess Cruises representative Briana Latter told CNN.
Cruise operators separately escorted the infected off the ship and advised them to go through a five-day isolation period, CNN affiliate Nine News reported.
Those who tested negative were allowed to abandon ship, a New South Wales health statement read.
“Carnival has informed NSW Health that they are assisting passengers with Covid-19 to make safe onward travel arrangements,” 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, prompting more caution from within the government.
The New South Wales Department of Health has recorded 19,800 new cases of Covid-19 and 22 deaths in the past week.
The Majestic Princess cruise ship has since departed from Sydney on her next voyage to Melbourne and Tasmania.
In a later statement, Fitzgerald said Carnival Australia has made more than 50 international and domestic trips “with a vast majority of more than 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 strict measures that go far beyond current guidelines,” including requiring 95% of guests over the age of 12 to be vaccinated and testing staff and passengers for Covid before boarding.
“We take our responsibility to keep everyone safe very seriously. This extends to not only caring for our guests, but also the wider community in which we operate and visit,” Fitzgerald said.
The Majestic Princess isn’t the first Carnival cruise to be hit by a Covid outbreak.
At least three other ships within the company’s Princess fleet — the Ruby Princess, Diamond Princess and Grand Princess — have experienced outbreaks earlier in the pandemic.