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Last updated: 14 Feb, 2020  

Australia.9.Thmb.jpg Sydney cruise passenger tests negative for coronavirus

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IANS | 14 Feb, 2020
A passenger on board a cruise ship docked in the Sydney Harbour, who was experiencing respiratory symptoms, on Friday tested negative for the deadly coronavirus, Australian health authorities said.

All passengers on the Norwegian Jewel were screened for respiratory symptoms as part of new measures to limit the spread of coronavirus and one was tested for the virus now called COVID-19, reports the Sydney-based SBS News service.

New South Wales (NSW) Health confirmed on Friday afternoon the test had come back negative.

The cruise ship arrived in Sydney from Auckland on Friday morning, docking at the international passenger terminal at Circular Quay.

Earlier in the day, operator Norwegian Cruise Line reassured the public that all passengers were in "good health" after false reports it had been placed in lockdown.

"This morning, there were various false media reports related to an illness on board our ship. There is absolutely no truth to this," a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line, told SBS News.

"We have no guests with any respiratory-related illness on board. The vessel remains in operation and all guests on board are in good health."

While some passengers said they were delayed from disembarking for approximately 45 minutes, a spokesperson for the NSW Port Authority told SBS News this was due to the new screening procedures implemented by NSW Health.

The ship is scheduled to depart Sydney later Friday for a 14-day cruise around Australia and New Zealand, a company spokesperson said.

The precautionary testing comes as the number of coronaviruses cases linked to the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise in Japan jumped to 218, including 12 Australians.

Also on Friday, passengers of The Westerdam cruise ship that had been denied entry into several countries over fears that the people on board were infected, disembarked in Cambodia after authorities confirmed they were healthy.

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