Norwegian Cruise Ship Jewel Passenger Undergoes Coronavirus Testing

NSW Health officials confirmed no passengers on the ship had been to China in the last 14 days and “there was no outbreak of any disease on board”.

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NSW Health authorities boarded the Norwegian Jewel at the Overseas Passenger Terminal on Friday morning to test the passenger in accordance with new security protocols to protect against the potential spread of the virus.

The precautionary measure delayed disembarkation for roughly an hour and passengers have since been allowed to get off the ship, a Port Authority spokesman said.

A spokesperson for NSW Health said in a statement that one person aboard the ship had been tested for respiratory illness. The test results were negative for CoVID-19, the spokesperson confirmed on Friday afternoon.

The routine testing was done as a precaution and there is no indication that the person was at particular risk of CoVID-19, the spokesperson said.

“At this point there is no concern for other passengers or people in and around Circular Quay,” the statement said.

None of the passengers had been in China in the previous 14 days and there was no outbreak of any disease on board.

“As part of routine assessment of travelers entering Australia from overseas, NSW Health is assisting Australian government agencies in assessing passengers who have been in China in the previous 14 days for novel coronavirus infection (CoVID19),” the statement read.

“This includes a Health team at Sydney International Airport which has assessed more than 16,000 incoming passengers, none of whom have been identified to have CoVID-19, as well as passengers arriving on cruise ships from overseas.

“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.”

The cruise ship’s operator, Norwegian Cruise Line, said that earlier reports of a potential coronavirus case among its passengers were false.

“This morning there were various false media reports related to an illness on board our ship,” a cruise ship spokeswoman said in a statement to AAP.

Earlier on Friday, The Australian reported the ship was in lockdown after a man on board had fallen ill with respiratory symptoms and was being checked. The report has since been amended.

“There is absolutely no truth to this,” the cruise ship spokeswoman said. “The vessel remains in operation, and all guests on board are in good health.”

Norwegian Cruise Line said it was barring all Chinese, Hong Kong and Macau passport holders from its ships regardless of residency.

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