Cruise ship docked in Sydney Harbour tested for virus

A cruise ship docked in Sydney Harbour has denied reports it was put into lockdown over a case of coronavirus.

The Norwegian Jewel cruise liner arrived at the overseas passenger terminal at Circular Quay about 6am today after travelling from Auckland in New Zealand.

Multiple Australian media outlets have reported that a passenger had fallen ill on board the luxury ship, with a suspected case of coronavirus. As a result, passengers were delayed from disembarking the cruise liner, the reports claimed.

But a spokesperson from the cruise liner told the reports were false, advising that “a few guests onboard experienced a stomach-related illness”

“This morning, there were various false media reports related to an illness on board our ship,” the statement read.

“There is absolutely no truth to this. The vessel remains in operation, and all guests on board are in good health.

“During Norwegian Jewel’s sailing from Auckland to Sydney, a few guests on board experienced a stomach-related illness. To mitigate any impact of this rare occurrence, we implemented stringent sanitation procedures.

“As such, upon the ship’s return to Sydney, a thorough inspection and rigorous cleaning and disinfection of the ship and terminal were conducted.”

One guest said she was delayed by about 45 minutes from disembarking the ship, however was unable to confirm what caused passengers to be delayed from leaving the ship. The woman said instead of departing at 8.15am, they were able to leave at 9am.

A Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson said in a statement that “safety, security and wellbeing of our guests and crew” was the ship’s number one priority.

“We have proactively implemented several preventive measures … due to growing concerns regarding Coronavirus infections in China,” the statement read.

“We will continue to consult with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and take appropriate additional action as needed.”

Any guest who holds a Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passport is unable to board Norwegian Cruise Line ships, regardless of their residency.

Any crew members that hold a Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passport will not be allowed to board the ships either. In addition, any crew members who have travelled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 30 days will not be allowed to board their ships.

Coronavirus has now officially killed 1367 people and infected nearly 60,000 globally.

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