The Latest: Cruise ship in New Zealand awaits virus test

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Officials spray disinfectant to prevent the new coronavirus at a beach in Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, March 15, 2020. For most people, the new coronaviru...

People gather at a bar before the official closing at midnight, in Paris, France, Saturday, March 14, 2020. France on Saturday ordered the closing of ...

An official sprays disinfectant to prevent the new coronavirus as foreign tourists wait for their departure at a harbor in Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Ma...

CORRECTS DATELINE TO LACEY, WASH., INSTEAD OF OLYMPIA, WASH. - Nearly empty shelves, that usually hold toilet paper, facial tissue and paper towels, a...

The Latest on the world's coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 150,000 people and killed more than 5,700. The disease for most people causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause more severe illness.

In New Zealand, passengers aboard a cruise ship in the South Island tourist town of Akaroa are not being allowed off the vessel while three passengers are tested for the new coronavirus.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said Sunday that one of the passengers on the Golden Princess is being treated as a suspected case because that person has developed symptoms of the disease and is a close contact of another person who has been confirmed as having contracted COVID-19.

Bloomfield says they should get the test results on Monday, and that officials are considering their response should the case be confirmed.

He says one lesson from observing problems with the virus spreading on other cruise ships is to avoid leaving everybody on board. Bloomfield didn't elaborate on what form any response might take.

The news came just one day after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country was banning cruise ships from entering its waters as it took a more aggressive approach to COVID-19. The Golden Princess was already in New Zealand at the time Ardern made her announcement.

The cruise ship departed from Melbourne, Australia. An Akaroa cruise schedule indicates the ship was expected to have about 2,600 passengers and 1,100 crew.

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