Passengers on the Golden Princess cruise liner were barred from disembarking at a New Zealand port yesterday because of a suspected COVID-19 case onboard, 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 Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said that 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 onboard are not being allowed off the ship until results are known,” 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.
The company is allowing cruises within the final five days of their journey to complete the trip, but said that those ongoing as of tomorrow would end early at the most convenient location.
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.
Bloomfield would not be drawn on what would happen to the Golden Princess until results of tests on the three passengers were known today.
The Golden Princess was already in New Zealand waters before Wellington on Saturday banned all cruise ship arrivals until June 30 under strict new pandemic regulations.
A New Zealand public health specialist, Brian Cox from the University of Otago, said that if COVID-19 was confirmed on the Golden Princess, the remaining passengers should not remain onboard.
The decision to quarantine 3,700 passengers and crew onboard the Diamond Princess in Japan was heavily criticized after more than 700 people eventually tested positive for the virus.
“The Japanese experience was a sad lesson that keeping people aboard such a ship just spreads the infection through a large number of people, and the boat becomes, basically, an incubator for spread of the disease,” Cox said.
Removing passengers from the ship and placing them in self-isolation for two weeks was the safest option and it would be “inhumane to just turn it around and send it back,” he said.
INCURSION: After 13 PLA aircraft flew into Taiwan’s ADIZ, the US Department of State said that China should rather ‘engage in meaningful dialogue’ with Taiwan US President Joe Biden’s administration on Saturday urged China to stop placing military pressure on Taiwan, while calling on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to engage in peaceful dialogue. The statement by the US Department of State was issued after 13 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. The air force scrambled fighter jets to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets until the planes left the ADIZ. The US “notes
‘INCREASED VIGILANCE’: A source of infection has not yet been found for the latest two cases in a hospital cluster, which should serve as a warning, Chen Shih-chung said A total of 2,991 people associated with a COVID-19 cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital have been put under home isolation, after an emergency expanded isolation order was issued on Sunday evening, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Fifteen people have so far tested positive in the cluster infection. The first case in the cluster (case No. 838) was reported on Jan. 12 — a doctor who treated an infected patient who had returned from the US. Contact tracing for the first 13 cases found connections to case No. 838, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who
CHANGE OF GUARD: Hsiao Bi-khim’s attendance at Joe Biden’s inauguration will come as a boost to those in Taiwan who feared that the new US administration would be less friendly than that of Donald Trump to the nation Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) is to attend US President Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony at the US Capitol after she was invited by the US Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, a news release issued by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the US said last night. The news came as a surprise as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been reticent about the matter, while Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members had accused the Democratic Progressive Party administration of hedging its bets on the Republican Party. Asked about when Hsiao received the invitation, the ministry did not
FAMILY UNIT: The CECC warned that the eldest sister of the latest case, who also has COVID-19, visited Taoyuan’s Chungping evening market on Tuesday and Wednesday The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a domestic case of COVID-19, associated with a recent cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital, and two imported cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the latest case (No. 885) is a woman in her 50s, who is the third daughter of case No. 881, a man in his 90s. The woman is the main caregiver of her elderly father, who had been hospitalized earlier this month and was treated by a nurse (case No. 852) from Monday to Thursday last week, he said, adding that