News Coronavirus Cruise ship docks in Melbourne after being turned away from NZ

Cruise ship docks in Melbourne after being turned away from NZ

diamond princess coronavirus
The Golden Princess offshore at Akaroa, near Christchurch, on March 15. It docked in Melbourne on Thursday. Photo: AAP
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

A cruise ship has docked at Melbourne and passengers are being kept on board the same week a ban was put in place to battle coronavirus.

The Golden Princess arrived at Port Melbourne on Thursday morning after earlier being turned away from New Zealand.

Passengers have told media they are not allowed to leave the ship.

While in New Zealand, the ship had one suspected coronavirus case and three other passengers in quarantine. The tests for all came back negative, but the ship was still refused docking at New Zealand ports.

By mid-afternoon (Melbourne time), passengers had still not been allowed to disembark the ship. Victorian health officials were conducting on-boarding screenings after reports several passengers felt unwell.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a ban on cruise ships from foreign ports from arriving in Australia after an initial 30 days “and that will go forward on a voluntary basis”.

All Australians arriving from overseas must also self isolate for 14 days.

Princess Cruises and the Victorian Department of Health have been contacted for comment.

Overnight Victoria confirmed 28 new coronavirus cases, taking the state’s tally to 149, Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Mr Andrews has been under pressure from the state opposition to roll out an economic stimulus package since the federal government and other states announced their own.

But he said it was moving beyond time for payments and other measures aimed at encouraging people to spend and keep the economy moving.

Instead, the Victorian government was working on a package that would help people and businesses “fundamentally survive”.

However, on Thursday the Andrews government announced a $437 million health funding boost to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

“It’s exactly what’s needed – more staff, more beds, more equipment – so we can do more for those who are sick,” Mr Andrews said.

He said new medical spaces would be opened to deal with the number of anticipated coronavirus cases anticipated. Baxter House at Geelong, which used to be a private hospital, will open as a COVID-19 clinic and the old Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre will open 84 beds for high-care patients.

Mr Andrews said an additional 45 beds would be opened at Bendigo Hospital.

Thursday’s package is on top of the extra $100 million announced earlier this week to free up the elective surgery list.

-with AAP