16 February 2020

Please attribute to a NSW Health spokesperson:

Passengers arriving in Sydney today on a cruise ship from New Zealand will be assessed by health experts, as part of precautionary measures being taken to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

No outbreak of COVID-19 has been identified by doctors on board the vessel that set sail from Auckland and travelled around New Zealand to Australia however, as a safeguard, any unwell passengers will be assessed by health teams here.

NSW Health is taking a precautionary approach to the prevention of COVID-19, assisting the Australian Government in assessing passengers who arrive at Sydney Airport who have been in China in the previous 14 days. We are also assessing passengers arriving on some cruise ships into Sydney from international ports.

A precautionary assessment was done on Friday morning on an arriving cruise ship and no passengers tested positive for novel coronavirus.

As cruise ships have large numbers of passengers (often thousands), many of whom are older and have chronic medical conditions, passengers often require medical management while on the cruise or on disembarkation, unrelated to infectious diseases.

People with fever and respiratory symptoms may be tested for respiratory infections, including novel coronavirus. The testing process is similar to that being done for passengers arriving at Sydney Airport.

For each cruise ship arrival into Sydney, a risk assessment will be conducted prior to the ship’s berthing by the NSW Chief Human Biosecurity Officer, in conjunction with NSW Health Chief Health Officer and public health physicians.

From this assessment, a decision on whether to disembark passengers into NSW will be made.