Harbour cruise feared to be Omicron super spreader as health authorities rush to contact passengers

Harbour cruise feared to be Omicron super spreader as health authorities rush to contact passengers

At least five people who attended a Sydney Harbour cruise over the weekend have tested positive for COVID-19, with NSW Health warning that two of the cases are “likely” to be of the Omicron variant.

The Cadman, which is operated and owned by Cadman Cruises, hosted a boat party jointly marketed as ‘Flow Fridays – 90s Themed Boat Party’ and ‘Freaky Sunday Afrovibe: The Last Dance’ on 3 December, departing from King Street Wharf 9 at 7.30pm, returning around 11pm, according to NSW Health.

Genome sequencing to confirm if any of the five confirmed cases have the Omicron variant is underway, but the state health authority revealed that preliminary results indicate two are likely to have it.

Contact tracers are urgently getting in touch with around 140 people who signed in with a QR code before boarding the boat and directing them and members of their households to immediately get tested, isolate and await further advice.

The Cadman is a three-level charter vessel that operates on Sydney Harbour, which hosts events for Sydney locals and tourists. Its website markets the vessel as “Sydney’s ultimate party boat”.

On Wednesday, NSW recorded 403 new local cases of COVID-19, marking its highest daily increase since October.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said the increase is the result of end of year parties and social gatherings.

“NSW Health is seeing an increased number of cases over the last couple of days, and what we’ve been observing is increased transmission in larger social venues such as pubs, clubs and party settings,” Chant said, adding that the cases were predominantly occurring in vaccinated people.

Organisers of Freaky Sunday Afrovibe urged attendees not to panic on Tuesday via a story posted to their Instagram account.

“There is an enormous amount of panick [sic] going around with the covid outbreak on 3rd of December,” the event organisers said.

“We urge each one of you who attended not to be alarmed. We are working closely with covid health officials and cadman [sic] crew members on how to trace the outbreak and inform everyone who attended to seld isolate and get tested immediately.

“Please get tested whether you have been contacted or not…”

As of Wednesday morning, NSW has recorded 34 Omicron cases, however, the party boat cases are not linked to this number, according to ABC News.

Featured image source: NSW Health via Vimeo

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