First cruise ship returns to Australia after 2-year coronavirus ban

Sydney, Australia, Apr 18 (EFE).- The first cruise ship in more than two years arrived in Australia Monday after the government lifted the ban imposed due to Covid-19.

The Pacific Explorer docked in Sydney to the cheer of hundreds of onlookers watching from the shore as the cruise entered the Circular Quay of the most populous Australian city.

Two tug boats with water cannons accompanied it, showering the cruise liner as it sailed into the terminal, unfurling a banner that read “We’re home” draped on its bow, state-run ABC television reported.

The ship had about 250 crew members on board but no passengers.

Tourists are expected to start their first trip in Sydney on May 31 to the Australian city of Brisbane.

The cruise ship docked in the Australian port after traveling more than 18,000 km from Cyprus, where it remained docked these two years after the ban due to the pandemic.

The Australian government banned the entry of cruise ships in March 2020 after the Ruby Princess, which had docked in Sydney, became the first major source of community infections in Australia after disembarking some 2,700 passengers.

The health authorities linked some 900 infections and 28 deaths to Ruby Princess from the United States. Some 10 percent of the total infections in early April 2020 were linked to the cruise.

Australia has relaxed Covid-19 restrictions after vaccinating more than 95 percent of the target population with at least two doses.

The country, which during the first year of the pandemic avoided massive contagion, has registered more than 5.4 million cases of Covid-19, including 6,782 deaths. EFE


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