Coronavirus: New Hawke's Bay cluster linked to Ruby Princess cruise ship responsible for hundreds of Australian cases

A new COVID-19 cluster has been detected in Hawke's Bay, and has been linked to a cruise ship.

After leaving New Zealand, the Ruby Princess sailed on to Australia, where it has been responsible for hundreds of cases.

The ship is now a floating mega-cluster of COVID-19. It's currently off the coast of Australia full of sick crew.

It's the biggest known cause of the coronavirus epidemic there - more than 430 cases and seven deaths can be tracked to it - all after it landed in Australia from New Zealand.

Ruby Princess' last stop had been Napier, which on Friday became a new official cluster. It's caused a total of 13 cases in Hawke's Bay, seven of those in the past 24 hours.

The cluster has been traced back to a Hawke's Bay tour guide in contact with the ship. They infected an elderly relative at the Gladys Mary Rest Home, where four other residents caught it too.

A bus driver also tested positive, and Newshub understands Kiwi Ruby Princess passengers in other parts of New Zealand have it too.

The Ruby Princess made five stops throughout New Zealand - starting in Fiordland on March 11 and finishing in Napier on March 15 - but there are questions over whether it should still have been operating as normal.

Cruise ships were actually banned in New Zealand on March 14 but the Ruby Princess was given an exemption, allowing it to go to the Hawke's Bay.

The Ruby Princess was approached for a response to this story. There was no comment before time of publishing.