SITREP for cruise vessels to identify COVID-19 cases
If on arrival, or during the course of the vessel journey around New Zealand, cases of COVID-19 are identified on board a cruise vessel, the master of the vessel is required to report this via a Situation Report (SITREP).
The master or other officer is required to provide daily SITREPS if COVID-19 is on board a vessel, regardless of the number of cases. The SITREPs do not have any impact on the other documentation requirements.
The SITREP form must be completed in full and emailed to ITOC@health.govt.nz
Health guidance and COVID-19 information
- It is recommended that crew and passengers should monitor carefully for symptoms of COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory viruses and if symptoms develop, people should be tested.
- People testing positive for COVID-19 are recommended to self-isolate for 5 days.
- If the positive case needs to leave their cabin or quarters during their 5-day isolation period they should wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene, and avoid crowded spaces. They should avoid contact with other passengers as they are likely to be infectious. If they leave the ship they should not visit a healthcare facility (except to access medical care), or an aged residential care facility.
- As some people remain infectious for up to 10 days, we recommend that the positive case wear a mask up until 10 days after their symptoms started or they tested positive. They should also minimise contact with anyone at risk of getting very unwell with COVID-19 such as elderly passengers.
- The ship remains the primary place for a maritime arrival to isolate if they are COVID-positive.
Role of cruise operators
Cruise operators can minimise the transmission of communicable diseases, including COVID-19, other acute respiratory infections and gastroenteritis, through their practices and procedures.
It is expected that cruise operators will help reduce the risk by:
- providing ready access to hand sanitation, masks, appropriate testing equipment, and support for passengers and crew with communicable diseases
- adhering to regular and thorough cleaning routines
- communicating and encouraging passengers and crew to follow the health guidance and COVID-19 information (identified above)
- promptly implementing additional controls in response to illness.
If the master becomes aware of any disease suspected to be a notifiable infectious disease on board their cruise ship at any point while in New Zealand they are required to notify the local public health service.
Public health assistance
Cruise operators are responsible for the health of crew and passengers, and for sanitation standards and practices on the ship. Keeping passengers and crew healthy helps protect all New Zealanders.
If illness or outbreaks are reported public health officers may request further information on the situation and the control measures taken. In some situations a ship visit may be necessary. Public health officers can provide advice and guidance on managing public health risks.