Majestic Princess: Cruise ship with around 800 Covid cases docks in Sydney

The Majestic Princess cruise ship is seen docked at the International Terminal on Circular Quay in Sydney  (AFP via Getty Images)
The Majestic Princess cruise ship is seen docked at the International Terminal on Circular Quay in Sydney (AFP via Getty Images)

A cruise ship carrying around 800 passengers who have tested positive for Covid has docked in Sydney.

The Australian government sought Saturday to reassure the public after the Majestic Princess cruise ship docked.

Health authorities in New South Wales placed the outbreak’s risk level at ‘Tier 3’, indicating a “high” level of transmission.

The Majestic Princess cruise ship arrived from New Zealand with around 4,600 crew and passengers - meaning around one in five had tested positive for the virus.

The incident has sparked comparisons with a notorious 2020 outbreak onboard the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

That outbreak, also in New South Wales, led to 914 infections and 28 deaths, an inquiry found.

The state’s Home Affairs Minister, Clare O’Neil, said the authorities have created “regular protocols" in the wake of the Ruby Princess episode and that officials would decide how to take off passengers from the Majestic Princess “on a case by case basis”.

Carnival Australia, the cruise operator, said Covid-positive passengers were isolating onboard and being cared for by medical staff.

Company president Marguerite Fitzgerald told ABC television that once Carnival saw an elevated number of Covid cases, it put extra protocols in place.

She said most of the cases started to be detected about halfway through the 12-day voyage.

All cases were either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, she said.

The outbreak comes as Covid cases rise across Australia, reflecting community transmission of the Omicron variant XBB, the federal government said this week.