Sydney cruise ship passenger tests negative for coronavirus

Cruise ship passengers were allowed to disembark after a 45-minute delay. Source: AAP

Three cruise ship passengers were taken to hospital for issues unrelated to coronavirus.

A passenger on board a cruise ship docked in Sydney Harbour who was experiencing respiratory symptoms has been cleared of coronavirus. 

All passengers on the Norwegian Jewel were screened for respiratory symptoms as part of new measures to limit the spread of coronavirus and one was tested for the virus now called COVID-19.

NSW Health confirmed on Friday afternoon the test had come back negative. 

The Norwegian Jewel cruise ship is seen at Circular Quay in Sydney, Friday, February 14, 2020. The cruise ship arrived in Sydney this morning with a passenger now being tested for possible coronavirus. (AAP Image/James Gourley) NO ARCHIVING
All passengers on board the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship have been declared in good health.

The cruise ship arrived in Sydney from Auckland on Friday morning, docking at the international passenger terminal at Circular Quay. 

Earlier on Friday, operator Norwegian Cruise Line reassured the public that all passengers were in "good health" after false reports it had been placed in lockdown.

"This morning, there were various false media reports related to an illness on board our ship. There is absolutely no truth to this," a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line, told SBS News.

"We have no guests with any respiratory-related illness on board. The vessel remains in operation and all guests on board are in good health."

While some passengers said they were delayed from disembarking for approximately 45 minutes, a spokesperson for the Port Authority of New South Wales told SBS News this was due to the new screening procedures implemented by NSW Health.

"Before anyone can disembark the ship, they are going on board, screening those passengers and if all clear, everyone will come off the ship," the spokesperson said. "So, that is causing a delay but the ship isn't in lockdown or anything like that."

Three passengers were transferred to hospital unrelated to respiratory illness, a NSW Health spokesperson said. 

None of the people on board had been to China within the past two weeks.

The precautionary testing comes as the number of coronaviruses cases linked to the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise in Japan jumped to 218, including 12 Australians.

The ship is scheduled to depart Sydney on Friday for a 14-day cruise around Australia and New Zealand, a company spokesperson said. 

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