Life Wellbeing Sun Princess hit by gastro outbreak for second time in two weeks

Sun Princess hit by gastro outbreak for second time in two weeks

Sun Princess
The Sun Princess Cruise liner has been hit by gastro for the second time in two weeks. Photo: Princess Cruises
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The Sun Princess cruise ship has been hit by its second major gastro outbreak in two weeks with more than 140 people arriving in Brisbane  morning stricken by the virus on Thursday.

Queensland Health confirmed the passengers contracted norovirus during their fortnight at sea.

“Queensland Health will work with the ship once it docks,” it said in a statement.

“Passengers are triaged once the ship docks … if they’re in need of medical assistance, then Queensland Health gets involved.”

Sun Princess docked at Hamilton, in Brisbane’s north, just before 7:00am local time.

ABC journalist Kathryn Perrott, who was holidaying on the cruise, left the boat early with her brother to get off in New Zealand.

“We were so scared of getting the norovirus, there were people obviously sick,” she said.

“My brother was particularly not keen after a bad experience getting sick in the past.

“We had cabins all around us being cleaned by people in hazmat suits.

“It was increasingly common to see those hazmat suits cleaning rooms during the cruise.

“It got to the point where there was an announcement over the loudspeaker from the captain saying that there was a norovirus, a high spike in norovirus cases on board the ship again.

“That’s when me and my brother decided to go home.”

One of the passengers, Margaret Stewart, told ABC that anyone who became unwell was confined to their cabin.

She did not notice any problems in public toilets and said they were all clean.

“I think the staff were working hard to do everything and disinfect everywhere, especially before we went into eat,” she said.

“The bug was there before we boarded and it must have broken out again.

“I think they really should have waited longer before we boarded, before we set off, to make sure it was cleaned thoroughly.”

It was a similar story last time the Sun Princess docked in Brisbane.

On February 2, about 90 holidaymakers were affected by the virus when the Sun Princess docked in Brisbane after completed a 12-day trip to Papua New Guinea.

On that occasion, the ship’s operator Princess Cruises said the vessel and terminal would undergo a “prolonged disinfection” ahead of its departure for a 14-day trip to New Zealand later that day.

Boarding passengers at the time said they were left waiting for up to two hours as the ship was disinfected.

Queensland Health said the virus was a common self-limiting illness which usually lasted for one to three days.

Princess Cruises said at the time of the last outbreak said it was rare and unusual for passengers to pick up a stomach bug near the end of a cruise.

The company added it was already on alert because norovirus had been active in the general community in recent months.

There were also reports of gastro outbreak on the Sun Princess in December 2016.

Health officials are expected to issue a fresh directive to the cruise company to disinfect its ship on Thursday.

– With ABC, AAP