A Princess Cruises ship docked in Brisbane, Australia, has been hit with a COVID outbreak as Queensland sees active cases of the virus near 41,000.
Now in its third wave, COVID-19 has infected about 100 crew and passengers aboard the Coral Princess ship, prompting the cruise line to provide refunds to those guests that were set to sail on the next 12-day cruise, the Australian news outlet ABC reported.
The Coral Princess cruise ship was slated for sailing to New South Wales and had more than 2,300 passengers and crew members onboard, ABC said.
A company spokesperson told the news outlet that the cruise line was doing everything possible to ensure guests and crew stayed safe amid the pandemic.
“We are adhering to comprehensive protocols that were agreed in conjunction with federal and state authorities and we are confident that they are working effectively,” the spokesperson said.
In a statement to reporters, according to the Guardian, Queensland’s health minister Yvette D’Ath said on Monday that some passengers were in isolation at their homes in other accommodations as authorities helped the cruise line with crewmembers who had tested positive for the virus on board.
“This was always going to happen, just like the rest of [the] community,” D’Ath continued. “The virus is everywhere and there’s no escaping that, but I do want to acknowledge that the public health units, along with the cruise line, are doing all the right things and following the protocols in place.”
Queensland has seen its COVID cases surge recently as the state reported 4,804 new cases Monday. The state has a full vaccination rate of 92.7%, according to Queensland Government data.
The data also showed that 782 people are currently hospitalized, with 10 residents in ICU. The total COVID-19 cases count in Queensland is now over 1.3 million since the start of the pandemic.
Despite rising cases of the virus, the state has not mandated face masks. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recently said, as reported by the Guardian, “It’s people’s personal responsibility. So if you’re in a crowded area, it is your choice to put on that mask.”
Cruise ships were seen as “superspreaders” for COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic, forcing the industry to temporarily pause operations for months to help prevent the spread of the virus.