Coronavirus: Kiwis at cruise ship ports concerned after passengers test positive

The Ruby Princess arrived in Australia, from New Zealand, on Wednesday. Paramedics waiting. 

First off, in a stretcher - an elderly man - later confirmed to have COVID-19.

A total of four COVID-19 cases were confirmed on board. They'd spent a week cruising around New Zealand. The confirmations only came after 2700 passengers hit the streets of Sydney and started travelling - unaware.

New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard isn't happy.

"Those people came off with no knowledge of COVID-19 being on that ship," he said.

That includes Kiwis. Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says they're now deemed close contacts.

"We are in the process of contacting the 56 New Zealanders who were on board, that includes 28 already returned to NZ."

People off Ruby Princess surged through New Zealand. And another cruise ship is a COVID-19 concern - the Celebrity Solstice. Both ships were in NZ from March 11 to 16.

The Ruby Princess went south to north with five stops. The Celebrity Solstice went the other way - with five stops as well. It didn't visit Wellington. There has been a confirmed case on the Celebrity Solstice. A man in his 60s, who got off in Dunedin, then flew to Auckland on March 15.

People in the ports have told Newshub they are concerned:

  • "Trying not to worry," a bank worker in Akaroa said.
  • "Drove school buses full of kids after," a bus driver in Napier said.
  • "Flat-out busy with thousands from the cruise ship. Have a sore throat," a Wellington market stallholder added.

Cruise ships carrying coronavirus through New Zealand - a really big concern.