2020-03-16 04:07:46 UTC
ship quarantined in Akaroa
15 Mar, 2020
A cruise ship is being held off the coast of New Zealand with at least one
suspected case of coronavirus on board.
Three passengers on the Golden Princess have been quarantined by the ship's
One of the three has developed symptoms of Covid-19 and is being treated as
a suspected case, the Canterbury District Health Board says.
Canterbury DHB medical officer of health Dr Ramon Pink said the public
health team was taking a precautionary approach.
All three passengers were in quarantine, and the cruise ship company had
been very co-operative, Pink said.
"We realise this is disappointing news for other passengers and
tourism/hospitality operators in Akaroa and Canterbury who were expecting to
host the passengers today.
"We cannot risk the potential further spread if this person tests positive.
"Two of the three people isolated have been in contact with a confirmed case
in the past 14 days."
On Saturday Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced all cruise ships would
be banned from coming to New Zealand until June 30.
It's not clear if the ban would have applied to the Golden Princess, which
would have been en route to Akaroa when the restrictions were announced.
All 18 ships that travel under the Princess Cruises brand have been halted
for two months due to the spread of Covid-19, operator Carnival announced on
Royal Caribbean Cruises has also announced today it is suspending cruising
in New Zealand and Australia.
Cruises that left either country before today would continue to operate and
return to Australia as planned, the company said.
Meanwhile the Prime Minister said today that the Government and the police
can enforce self-isolation if necessary.
And she says the Government's economic package, to be announced on Tuesday,
will be the most significant one-off injection into the economy of her
entire tenure as Prime Minister.
Play VideoHow to stop the spread of coronavirus. Video / AP / CDC / Leeds
Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust / ABC News
Yesterday Ardern announced that any person from any country, excluding the
Pacific islands, is now required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival to
the country, and she encouraged all New Zealanders to avoid all
non-essential travel overseas.
As well as affecting thousands of people's travel plans, the move is
expected to significantly impact Kiwis' jobs and New Zealand economy.
This morning Ardern sought to calm fears about whether people would
self-isolate properly, saying that the 10,500 New Zealanders who had done it
so far had been overly compliant, with some staying home for more than 14
But she said authorities, including police, had the power to quarantine
people at a medical facility and station staff at the door.
That power had not been used so far, she told TVNZ's Q+A this morning.
The Government has been constantly looking at global developments, and the
new restrictions unveiled on Saturday were the next step to "go hard" to
flatten the curve.
The goal was to avoid a large-scale community spread of the virus, and the
new travel restrictions were about keeping pressure off the public health
system as the number of positive cases rose.