20 March 2020
NSW Health has identified today four people on the cruise ship Ruby Princess who have tested positive to COVID-19. These cases were identified and confirmed as part of the additional measures that NSW Health has put in place in relation to cruise ships.

As of 11am today, NSW has confirmed 382 cases of COVID-19, including interstate residents in NSW health care facilities.

The Ruby Princess cruise to New Zealand left Sydney on 8 March and returned to Sydney and docked yesterday morning.

2647 passengers were on board and disembarked yesterday and all were advised to self-isolate at home or in their accommodation for a period of 14 days as part of the management of returned travellers, in accordance with the Public Health Order for quarantine that is in place in New South Wales.

Three of the confirmed cases were passengers who disembarked from the ship after it docked at Circular Quay yesterday morning.

  • One, a resident of Tasmania, is still in NSW being assessed at a Sydney hospital.
  • One was taken unwell directly from the ship to hospital. It is not unusual for cruise ship passengers, many of whom are elderly, to be disembarked directly from cruise ships to hospital.
  • One presented to a Sydney hospital after disembarkation for testing.
  • The fourth confirmed case is a crew member who is in isolation on board the ship. , Quarantine of other crew on board is underway in consultation with the on board medical team.

Ninety-eight of the 1148 crew disembarked the ship and have left NSW for their home countries. The rest of the crew remain in isolation on board the ship which is currently offshore.

Five people on board with influenza-like illness were tested in Wellington, New Zealand on 14 March, and all were negative for COVID-19 at that time.

NSW Health officials have emailed and sent text messages to all cruise passengers today to advise of the confirmed cases on board and to reinforce the importance of self-isolation and regular self-monitoring for symptoms. Phone calls are also being made to all passengers.

NSW Health has notified other states and territories and the National Incident Room of this situation.

Sixty-three per cent of the passengers are Australian residents, 20 per cent are residents of the United States and the rest are from a variety of other countries. All close contacts of the confirmed cases will also be identified and informed.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath. Community members should seek medical attention by calling their GP or healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or present to an emergency department or COVID-19 clinic if unwell.