The NSW government has faced heavy criticism over its handling of cruise ship arrivals amid a nationwide crackdown on international arrivals.
Four cruise ships have been given “special permission” to dock in Australia since the federal government introduced a 30-day nationwide ban on ships that depart from an international port, ABC News reported.
Among these ships was Ruby Princess, which docked in Sydney earlier this week and disembarked 2,647 guests. Since then, four people from the vessel have tested positive for COVID-19.
Princess Cruises said in a statement it is working closely with NSW Health authorities, who advised three guests and a crew member had tested positive.
“Please be advised that all four had reported flu-like symptoms during the cruise and, along with their stateroom occupants, were in isolation on board the ship minimising contact with other guests and crew,” the line said.
“We have assisted NSW Health to make contact with all guests who arrived in Sydney yesterday.”
Despite this, the minister for health has insisted the ships are arriving under “strict conditions”.
According to ABC News, NSW opposition health spokesman Ryan Park said the situation is “absurd”.
“It seems to be unbelievably absurd in the middle of a pandemic that this would be allowed to happen,” he said.
More than 1,000 crew members remain in quarantine on Ruby Princess.
Read more of our coverage on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the cruise industry HERE.
Featured image credit: iStock.com/SteveLuker