Two 5-year-olds who had returned from a South Pacific cruise on the Pacific Dawn have been placed in home quarantine after testing positive to swine flu.
All 2,000 passengers who disembarked from the ship when the cruise ended in Sydney have been asked to stay home for a week and immediately report any flu-like symptoms.
The cruise ship was held for seven hours before it left Sydney on Monday with a fresh crew and passengers booked on a separate cruise.
Sandy Olsen, spokesman from Pacific Dawn owner Carnival Australia, said the ship was stocked with anti-flu medications.
“I think it’s important to note here that we have very well-trained doctors and very well-equipped medical centres aboard our ships,” Olsen said. “In some cases we’re better equipped to deal with the spread of contagious disease, better than perhaps any other holiday destination are.”
The positive tests bring to 23 the number of confirmed cases in Australia. Most are in Melbourne and most are people who have recently returned from Mexico or North America.
Some were almost recovered before they boarded flights and none has been hospitalized or required more than the standard anti-flu medication.
Three schools have been closed in Melbourne, and will remain closed for a week, after three pupils and a teacher tested positive for swine flu.
Health authorities have ordered that any child returning from a trip to Mexico, North America, Japan or any other jurisdiction where there were a significant number of swine-flu cases be kept off school for a week.
“I know that this will cause an inconvenience to many people, but we do believe it is one of the most effective ways of trying to reduce the spread of this disease,” Health Minister Nicola Roxon said.(dpa)