Pakistan posts 40-plus Covid cases

NIH data shows positivity ratio climbs up to 0.76%: Cruise ship carrying 800 Covid-positive passengers docks in Sydney

By: News Desk
Published: 10:41 AM, 13 Nov, 2022
Pakistan posts 40-plus Covid cases
Caption: Australian authorities say they have assessed the Covid-19 risk level for the Majestic Princess ship, indicating a high level of transmission.–SBS News
Stay tuned with 24 News HD Android App
Get it on Google Play

Pakistan has recorded 42 more Covid-19 infections and no fatality during the last 24 hours (Saturday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health (NIH) on Sunday morning, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The death toll in the country stood at 30,629 whereas the number of total infections now rose to 1,574,639 after adding the fresh 42 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Saturday), 5,559 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.76 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 53. 

Cruise ship carrying 800 Covid-positive passengers docks in Sydney

Cruise ship operator Carnival Australia said all measures are being taken to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading in the community, after a ship docked with about 800 Covid-positive passengers on board.

The ship docked at 6am Sydney, before continuing on to Melbourne and ultimately New Zealand.

Passengers who returned a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) 24 hours prior were allowed to disembark at Sydney's Circular Quay.

Positive-COVID cases were also allowed to disembark, if they had elected not to stay on board the ship. They were kept separated from other non-COVID positive passengers while getting off the ship, and they were assisted to find private transportation.

While people with COVID are currently not required to isolate in Australian jurisdictions, it's recommended they stay home while unwell.

The president of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises, Marguerite Fitzgerald, said the cruise operator had advised all passengers to avoid public transport.

She said the company had complied with NSW Health rules set out under the Eastern Seaboard and Western Australian Cruise Protocols.

"They have been made aware that they should not use public transport when they disembark," she said. "We have been proactively preparing for and managing incidents of COVID-19 and continue to work closely with NSW Health, including adhering to the guidelines."

Passengers disembarking from Majestic Princess at Circular Quay told SBS News they were relieved to finally get off the ship after the growing number cases was confirmed.

Ms Fitzgerald said the escalation in virus cases became clear on day six of the 12-day voyage. About 800 of the 3,300 passengers are COVID-positive and have been isolated from other passengers.

One female passenger, who returned a negative RAT, told SBS News she had a positive cruise experience overall, but felt the communication about the COVID cases on board could have been handled better.

"Communication wasn't as good as it should have been. It was noticeable [something was amiss] when all crew members started wearing face masks. But my sister and I wore face masks from day one. But other than that, I really can't complain."

Another female passenger, who also returned a negative RAT, said she and her sister spent the final days confined to their cabins to reduce the risk of getting COVID.

"We didn't even know that we were passing cabins where people had COVID. The poor communication really upset us," she said.

"For the last two days, we just stayed in our cabin and had meals brought to us - only because we didn't want to get COVID."

Covid-positive passengers to stay in isolation for five days

The ship has been travelling around New Zealand for the past 12 days and will head on to Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.

Guests who tested positive and chose to stay on the ship were required to isolate for at least five days.

Ms Fitzgerald said all cases were asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and they had been warned to stay away from public transport.

"Much of this has been in planning for months," she said. "We always knew that there was a risk that at some point we were going to see a surge in community transmission and that we would then see that on ship."

Ms Fitzgerald hit back at comparisons between the current circumstances and the virus outbreak involving the Ruby Princess in March 2020, which was linked to 28 deaths and about 900 infections.

"That is nearly three years ago and since then, we as a community have learned a lot, a lot more about COVID," she said.

"We've learned what works to help mitigate transmission, we've learnt how to keep our vulnerable people safe and it is no different in the cruise industry."

NSW Health says Covid risk level is high

A NSW Health spokesperson said the virus risk level for the vessel had been raised to tier three, meaning a high level of transmission.

The outbreak comes after a jump in cases across Australia over the past week, prompting Queensland to ask residents to mask up in health facilities, indoors and on public transport.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil said NSW Health has the primary responsibility of dealing with the COVID risk to the community, with Border Force playing a supplementary role.

"I would say that there are regular protocols that have arisen out of the Ruby Princess [saga] and I'm sure New South Wales Health will be out and about later today to talk about the decisions that they have made," she said on Saturday.

Protocols were changed after the COVID outbreak linked to the Ruby Princess cruise ship, which docked in Sydney in March 2020 with infected passengers on board. About 2,650 passengers were allowed to disembark from the ship when it docked in Sydney.

The saga also triggered an inquiry and class action lawsuit. The Special Commission of Inquiry, commissioned by the NSW government, found NSW Health had mischaracterised the ship as low-risk, and should have tested sick patients immediately.

Categories : Topics, Health