More coronavirus cases from ship that visited Dunedin

NSW Health has confirmed 26 people from the Ruby Princess cruise ship, which visited Dunedin recently, have tested positive for Covid-19.

Fifty-six Kiwis were reportedly on board the ship, which arrived in Sydney last Thursday after a New Zealand trip that included stops in Dunedin, Akaroa and Wellington.

It arrived in Dunedin on the morning of March 12 and departed the same day, at 6pm.

It was initially reported that three passengers and one crew member had tested positive. 

A statement on Sunday night said 17 passengers and one crew member had been diagnosed in New South Wales, while eight passengers had been diagnosed interstate.

There was no word as to any New Zealand cases. 

A NSW Health spokesman says all cruise ships from midnight on Sunday will be held in port until any patients highlighted as having respiratory issues are tested for Covid-19.

"NSW Health will go even further beyond the national protocol and its current own state protocols," the statement said on Sunday.

The Ruby Princess had 1148 crew and 2647 passengers on board when it travelled to New Zealand before returning to Sydney on Thursday.

All cases from the cruise ship are in isolation at home or in hospital and all passengers and crew have been notified and asked to self-isolate for 14 days as investigations continue.

NSW Health on Sunday confirmed 97 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the state's tally to 533.

Of those 533 cases, 46 have been contracted locally without an identified source of infection.

Coronavirus has also infected several backpackers near Sydney's famous Bondi Beach, which has been shut down after hundreds ignored urgent public health warnings about social distancing.

"Several new diagnoses of Covid-19 have been made in backpackers in the Bondi area," NSW Health said on Sunday in a statement.

All beaches in Sydney's eastern suburbs were closed on Sunday, including Bondi, Tamarama, Maroubra and Coogee.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said authorities may need to crack down even harder if people continue to ignore public health warnings.

"What happened at Bondi Beach yesterday was not OK and served as a message to federal and state leaders that too many Australians are not taking these issues seriously enough," he said on Sunday.

"State premiers and chief ministers may have to take far more draconian measures to enforce social distancing.

"The more Australians themselves assist us in this fight against the virus to protect lives and livelihoods, the more and better able we are to ensure that Australia comes out stronger on the other side."

Under regulations introduced to control the spread of the deadly virus, outdoor gatherings of 500 people or more have been banned.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged young people to take the Covid-19 threat seriously, saying "the problem is just over the horizon, on the basis of the numbers that we're now seeing".

"It's a serious matter. Save yourself and save your family," Mr Hazzard said on Saturday.

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