Cruises are meant to make new memories and be enjoyable. Unfortunately, however, life does not always go as planned. That was recently the case when a breakout of COVID-19 cases on a cruise ship caused it to dock in Sydney.
The Majestic Princess is a royal class cruise ship run by Princess Cruises of Carnival Corporation and PLC. It was returning from its neighbor, New Zealand, with around 4,600 passengers when the incident occurred.
Breakout of COVID-19 cases at sea
The Majestic Princess arrived at Circular Quay in Sydney with all 4,600 of its clients onboard, according to ABC and BBC. The COVID-19 cases on the cruise ship pertained to around eight hundred people who had tested positive for the virus. That means that one in five were infected when it docked.
According to the BBC, Marguerite Fitzgerald, the president of Cruise Operations for Carnival Australia, stated that the crew began to learn about the majority of the cases halfway through the cruise ship’s twelve-day journey.
She also stated that all of the cases were either asymptomatic or partially asymptomatic, meaning that the infection passed from person to person unnoticed. As it was already too late at that point to warn passengers, all guests took a rapid antigen test within twenty-four hours of disembarkment.
Australia no longer requires isolation if people test positive, though they normally require those on a sea voyage who have been infected with COVID-19 to quarantine for five days. The cruise ship company therefore rapidly came up with a plan of action that would allow for the least amount of collateral damage. Those who had the virus had to exit separately and avoid the use of public transportation. The ones who were not infected could go as they pleased.
Memories of the pandemic
This is not the first time that there has been a breakout on a cruise ship. It happened once before in 2020, when around nine hundred people found out they had the virus. Of that number, twenty-eight perished.
The pandemic is not over. Yet, no one wants to go back into isolation either. However, the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Australia as well as other parts of the world does create concern. One reason is that recent research has shown those who have had COVID-19 repeatedly are at risk of death.
New South Wales has reported 19,800 cases in the last seven days, for example. Furthermore, the Health Council of Australia has reported 54,600 a day in the country as of November 8th, which amounts to 7,800 on a daily basis.
In the U.S., the average daily count now stands at 39,016. The represents a 4.7 percent increase when compared with the week before. In addition, according to Our World in Data, COVID-19 cases are also rising in Europe, hitting countries such as France and Italy particularly hard. They have also increased in the UK.
The average daily number in Greece was at an average of more fifty thousand on November 8th, Our World in Data reported. It has gone down significantly however since then.