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Cruise ship carrying 800 COVID-positive passengers docks in Australia

Australia is currently experiencing an outbreak in COVID cases.
Credit: AP
Passengers look out from balconies aboard the Grand Princess as it cruises a holding pattern about 25 miles off the coast of San Francisco on Sunday, March 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

WASHINGTON — A cruise ship with at least 800 people who tested positive for COVID-19 docked in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday, according to multiple media reports. 

The Majestic Princess ship was carrying over 4,000 people and was nearly halfway through a 12-day voyage when the outbreak occurred, CNN reports. Princess Cruises said in a statement that all passengers onboard the ship took a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of disembarking, the Washington Post reported Saturday. 

The New South Wales government issued a health statement on Saturday, saying cruise operators are responsible for having measures in place to keep crew and passengers safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Passengers who tested positive are isolating and being cared for by the cruise's onboard medical team, according to Carnival, the cruise operator.

"There are currently increasing levels of COVID-19 throughout the community as the current wave of infections, driven by the new Omicron subvariants continues to grow," the NSW said in a statement. 

Marguerite Fitzgerald, the president of cruise operator Carnival Australia, said a number of cases began popping up halfway through the ship's voyage, BBC reports. Fitzgerald also said all cases were either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. 

Australia is currently experiencing an outbreak in COVID cases, with the New South Wales Ministry of Health recording 19,800 new cases of COVID-19 in the past week. 

According to CNN, the Majestic Princess departed Sydney and left for her next stops, Melbourne and Tasmania. 

The Majestic Princess belongs to the company's Princess fleet, which has been no strangers to COVID-19 outbreaks. Earlier in the pandemic, the Ruby Princess, Diamond Princess and Grand Princess saw outbreaks.

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