Some passengers had norovirus symptoms

Ginny Green.
Ginny Green.
Passengers with symptoms of the infectious stomach bug norovirus left cruise ship Dawn Princess while it was berthed at Port Chalmers on Monday to take their scheduled tours.

The situation was raised yesterday at a debriefing for the cruise ship industry in the context of a concern about a lack of toilet facilities at Baldwin St, Northeast Valley.

The operator said a passenger with norovirus symptoms was directed to the nearby Otago Community Hospice in North Rd.

Hospice chief executive Ginny Green said when contacted the hospice had ongoing issues with tourists wanting to use its toilets and ordinarily did not allow them to do so.

''But this man was in serious distress.''

Staff did not find out until after he had visited that he had norovirus.

He had been limited to the front of the building, so patients and their families were not at risk, she said.

Once staff knew what they were dealing with, they took the containment precautions recommended.

Ms Green had been assured the council was considering the situation, but there was no land available for public toilets.

''I really encourage tourism operators to tell their passengers there are no toilet facilities down here and they need to stop at the Gardens.''

Port Otago commercial manager Peter Brown said the incident would be taken up with the cruise ship company, Princess Cruises.

''[The company] will get a rocket about that,'' he said at the debriefing.

Last night, Mr Brown said Port Otago had not received confirmation of a norovirus outbreak.

''We haven't been advised about anything by the boat or Public Health South. If there had been an outbreak and we weren't advised of it, that would be of some concern to us, both to the port and tourism operators,'' he said.

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