Cruise ship Majestic Princess to dock in Sydney with 800 Covid cases on board

A cruise ship carrying a reported 800 passengers infected with Covid-19 is on course to dock in Sydney on Saturday morning.

The Majestic Princess, which has a total of more than 4,000 passengers and crew on board, was scheduled to dock in Sydney Harbour about 6am on Saturday after a 12-day cruise to New Zealand.

The operator, Princess Cruises, said the infected passengers were all “mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic”.

“Reflective of the increase in community transmission, we too have seen more guests test positive for Covid-19 on the current voyage of Majestic Princess,” the company said in a statement.

“These guests are mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic and are isolating in their staterooms.

“All unimpacted guests are wearing masks and this will continue when they disembark in Sydney. We have been proactively preparing for and managing incidences of Covid-19 and continue to work closely with NSW Health including adhering to their guidelines.”

NSW Health assessed the Covid risk level for the Majestic Princess as “Tier 3” which indicated a high level of transmission.

“Carnival has advised NSW Health that passengers disembarking from the ship have undertaken a rapid antigen test in the 24 hours leading up to disembarkation,” the health department said on Friday night.

“Carnival has advised NSW Health they are assisting passengers with Covid-19 to make safe onward travel arrangements.”

It is the biggest single outbreak since the Ruby Princess cruise liner arrived in Sydney in April 2020 with hundreds of infected passengers on board. Of those, 28 died from Covid-19, prompting a state government investigation and a class action case against the operator.

It comes as Covid infections are exploding across Australia in a fourth wave of the virus driven by Omicron variants.

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