Wellington Scoop

Sixteen covid-19 cases in Hawkes Bay linked to visit from cruise ship

Report from RNZ
There are now 16 cases of Covid-19 linked to the Ruby Princess cruise ship’s visit to Napier three weeks ago.

Three more people with links to the cruise ship have tested positive or are probable cases in the last 24-hours, said the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.

One of the probable cases was a resident at Gladys Mary Care Home in Napier, which already had three confirmed and two other probable cases.

The first resident become infected after being visited by a relative who been in contact with passengers from the Ruby Princess while they docked in Napier on 15 March.

Yesterday the Ministry of Health said cases linked to the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Hawke’s Bay made it one of ten clusters nationwide.

Prior to the ship being granted clearance to disembark in Napier, Covid-19 was ruled out on unwell passengers, Hawke’s Bay Medical Officer of Health Nick Jones said. “The ship declared it had several passengers unwell with Influenza A (confirmed through the ship’s onboard testing), but one passenger that did not return an Influenza A result.

“Therefore, the ship’s Master was advised that if Covid-19 could not be excluded, the vessel would not be granted clearance to disembark in Napier,” said Dr Jones.

“At the request of the ship’s doctor, the Medical Officer of Health arranged for immediate Covid-19 testing to be undertaken by public health officials while the ship was in Wellington, and all returned negative results.”

Jones said the Medical Officer of Health was also advised by government officials that the new border closure introduced at that time did not apply to vessels already within New Zealand waters.

“The ship was therefore cleared for disembarkation in Napier, but unwell passengers were to remain on board the vessel,” he said.

There are now 29 Covid-19 cases in Hawke’s Bay, after five new cases were reported in the last 24 hours.


  1. TrevorH, 5. April 2020, 8:11

    While the tests taken in Napier may have proved negative (false negatives appear to have been frequent through the pandemic so far), the decision to allow cruise ships to keep entering our ports and disembarking their passengers at that time defied common sense in the light of the well documented rapid spread of the virus on cruise ships overseas including at least two sister ships of the Ruby Princess. Where is the accountability?

  2. TrevorH, 5. April 2020, 18:39

    Tonight’s TV1 News reveals Australia has launched a criminal investigation into the decision to allow the Ruby Princess’ passengers to disembark in Sydney where it has caused 600 cases. Will New Zealand do likewise? This is a major scandal.

  3. Sandfly, 6. April 2020, 7:15

    There’s a damning report on the Ruby Princess here.
    I’m amazed no one in Wellington seems to have been infected by this but perhaps they have been and we don’t know.