Ship sail

COVID outbreak on Coral Princess among crew and passengers as cruise ship docks in Brisbane

Queensland authorities say an outbreak of COVID-19 on a cruise ship was expected, as the state nears 41,000 active cases.

The outbreak of around 100 among the crew and some passengers of the Coral Princess in Brisbane on Sunday has led Princess Cruises to offer refunds to those booked on its next 12-day cruise.

There were more than 2,300 guests and crew on the cruise ship, which was heading to New South Wales.

Of the 100 positive cases, a small number of guests have landed in Brisbane.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said COVID-19 protocols were in place on the ship before the outbreak.

She said some passengers are self-isolating at home or other accommodations, while authorities are helping the company manage infected staff on board.

“It was always going to be like the rest of the community,” Ms D’Ath said.

A Princess Cruises spokesperson said they were doing everything possible to keep guests and crew safe alongside COVID.

“We have also been open and transparent with guests about the effectiveness of our protocols and this has led to recent media coverage,” the spokesperson said.

“We adhere to comprehensive protocols that have been agreed upon in conjunction with federal and state authorities and are confident that they are working effectively.”

The health minister said COVID-19 protocols were in place on the ship before the outbreak.(Reuters: Marco Bello)

The spokesman said the protocols included regular testing of crew, all of whom must be fully vaccinated, and isolation if they test positive.

“In response to media inquiries over the weekend, we noted that fewer than 20 passengers from the previous cruise tested positive,” they said.

“The health and well-being of our guests and crew remains our top priority and the protocols followed on board are working.”

Cases were expected

A Queensland Health spokesperson said the cases on the cruise ship were expected and they were ready to handle them.

“We are in contact with the operators of a cruise ship on which an outbreak of COVID-19 has been reported,” the spokesperson said.

“Cruise ship crews and their passengers are subject to strict requirements to minimize the risk of COVID-19 to Queenslanders.

“Cruising plays a vital role in our state’s tourism industry and it’s important that we continue to adapt and learn to live with COVID-19.”

Nearly 41,000 active cases

Queensland recorded another 4,804 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the number of active cases to 40,489.

No one has died from the virus but there are 782 people in hospital and 10 in intensive care.

Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said there were no plans to mandate face masks and said it was up to individuals to wear one or not.

“It’s people’s personal responsibility,” she said.

“So if you’re in a crowded area, it’s your choice to put on that mask.”

She urged people over the age of 65 to wear masks and make sure they got a reminder because those “who end up in hospital and tragically people lose their lives, are people of over 65 years old.

With children returning to class after the school holidays on Monday, the health minister called on parents to keep their children at home if they were sick.

ABC/PAA

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