New passengers, sanitation for norovirus cruise ship

Louise van de Vlierd
Louise van de Vlierd
A cruise ship struck by a norovirus outbreak will have a new intake of passengers before arriving in Dunedin, i-Site visitor centre manager Louise van de Vlierd says.

About 200 people became ill on Sea Princess, which docked in Brisbane yesterday after completing a two-week round trip between Australia and New Zealand, the ABC reported.

Sea Princess, which can carry  more than 2000 passengers, is scheduled to visit Dunedin on  Tuesday. A thorough cleaning process would occur before new passengers boarded, Ms van de Vlierd said.

"I’ve just checked with the shipping agent, and he said ‘What’s the worry? It’s not even heading our way yet’.

"They don’t take it lightly, and they completely sanitise the ship," Ms van de Vlierd said.

Medical officer of health Dr Marion Poore said the ship would have observed stringent measures to deal with the outbreak.

"They do a really good job at controlling those sorts of outbreaks.

"I would expect that they will have got things well under control by [next week]," Dr Poore said.

A newly released report on the Dunedin Hospital rebuild has highlighted the impact of cruise ship visits on the city’s health service.

About 200 cruise ship passengers  a year required medical attention.

Most were seen by the Dunedin Urgent Doctors and Accident Centre, but some went to the emergency department.

"Although the attendances are relatively small in number, according to some staff their expectations for service turnaround and diagnostics [are] high.

"For instance, they will want to get an MRI in short order to return to the ship," the report said.

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