Inside the Sydney hotel housing 239 cruise passengers
Australians who were stranded on the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship are being quarantined in Sydney's Swissotel, after returning home on a chartered Qantas flight overnight.
The passengers, who were flown in from the United States, were accompanied by Border Force to the hotel in the early hours of the morning. NSW Police officers are now guarding the hotel on Market St in Sydney's CBD.
A Department of Home Affairs spokesman said the charter flight from Honolulu was carrying 293 passengers, who were all subjected to health screening on arrival. Of the rescued passengers, five did not pass health screening, and have been escorted to hospital for COVID-19 testing, the spokesman said.
The remaining 288 passengers will be quarantined inside the Swissotel for two weeks.
Some of the rescued Australians have taken to social media to thank Qantas for returning them home on a chartered flight from the United States.
At the end of the flight, one passenger leads a round of applause for the cabin crew.
Thousands of people, including Australians, are stuck on cruise ships off the coast of NSW, waiting for the state and federal governments to agree on new measures about how to get them off without risking the spread of COVID-19.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Thursday morning that all ship arrivals will be stopped until "further notice".
Ms Berejiklian said she is working with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Border Force, to adopt the new protocols.
"The protocols that I want far exceed what the existing protocols are. And that's what we're negotiating with the federal government," Ms Berejiklian said.
"There are potentially thousands of people who are currently stuck on boats. And that is why this is very important to get it right," the Premier said.
Several cruise ships are still off the state's coast, including the Ruby Princess, the ship responsible for many of the state's COVID-19 cases.
Some crew members on board the vessel have respiratory illness and are in isolation, with the ship's parent company managing the outbreak on the ship.
NSW Health will assist if "there is any indication they are not responding," Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.
Originally published as Inside the Sydney hotel housing 239 cruise passengers