Napier Port urges caution

Napier Port is asking the Hawke’s Bay community to take a cautious approach, following the news that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases amongst Australians aboard the Ruby Princess cruise ship is growing.

The ship docked in Napier on Sunday 15 March, between 6:30am and 4:20pm, and all passengers and crew are considered ‘close contacts’ of the confirmed cases.

Napier Port CEO Todd Dawson says the increase in cases is concerning, but we are working with the Ministry of Health to gather information about what advice we need to give our community.

“All ships go through a health check before being allowed to dock, and any crew or passengers showing signs of illness would not have been allowed to disembark. However, we don’t know whether any of the crew or passengers who are now positive for COVID-19, who were not showing symptoms at the time, disembarked in Hawke’s Bay.”

We are asking people in our community to take a cautious approach. If you think you were within one metre of a Ruby Princess passenger for more than 15 minutes on Sunday 15 March, please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice.”

“The Ministry of Health is currently gathering information on where all Ruby Princess passengers went while in Hawke’s Bay, as well as contact tracing for the Kiwi passengers who returned home to New Zealand after the cruise.

“We’re also working quickly to make sure everyone who was on the wharf that day, including contractors, tour operators and volunteers, checks their status with Healthline.”

Mr Dawson explains that every ship entering Napier Port is required to declare any health issues or symptoms of illness onboard to the port and to Hawke’s Bay DHB before it can be cleared to dock.

“In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, we had also put additional measures in place, enforcing a 14 day self-isolation period on the vessel and all shore leave is cancelled until that isolation period is complete.

“While we acted according to best practice at the time, the situation with COVID-19 is changing quickly and the health of our community is paramount.”