Officials in Australia are scrambling to round up thousands of passengers who disembarked from the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney on Thursday after four people tested positive for the new coronavirus.
The cruise ship departed Sydney on 8 March for a 13-night cruise to New Zealand, but the journey was cut short when the government introduced new travel laws in response to the pandemic.
The arrival comes despite a 30-day ban on worldwide cruise liners docking in the country, which was announced on Tuesday.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it was possible other people on board now had COVID-19.
More than 50 New Zealanders are being contacted after four people on their cruise ship which made a stop in Wellington tested positive for coronavirus.
The ship was carrying 2,700 passengers and 1,100 crew, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
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The crew member in question is yet to depart the ship, in an effort to minimise the spread of the virus.
"Guests will be accompanied to their flights and transfers, organized by the company, through a sanitary cordon of isolation", Costa Cruises said.
Any passengers who had returned to New Zealand would have to go into self-isolation for 14 days.
Now that they're in Georgia, state officials said they're encouraging federal officials to bring commercial buses to the Atlanta airport so that troopers can escort them to another quarantine.
"We definitely want to know whether or not we're putting anyone else at risk, and want to make sure we are protecting our family and friends and anybody else we come in contact with", Alan Brast said.
The Ministry of Health said public health staff will be working with their counterparts in Australia, giving details of the activities of the passenger while onboard the cruise. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
There were 240 Americans and 100 Canadians on board the cruise ship.
The Costa Luminosa is now expected in Marseille, a major Mediterranean port, on Thursday at around 1 p.m. (1200 GMT), a Marseille port spokesman said, but they would not be permitted to disembark before being tested for coronavirus.
Cruise ships - with their tightly packed crowds of often elderly passengers - have repeatedly been hit by the coronavirus and have been banned from disembarking in several countries.
The Costa Luminosa, operated by Italy's Costa Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp CCL.N , had left Fort Lauderdale, Florida on March 5 on a cruise destined for Venice, Italy.