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2,000 leave Australian flu ship after all clear: officials

world Updated: Jun 01, 2009 07:13 IST

Australian authorities on Monday allowed around 2,000 passengers to disembark from a cruise ship caught up in a high-seas swine flu scare, as the number of cases in the country jumped to 302.

Passengers who had been confined aboard the Pacific Dawn cruise ship since last week, when three crew members fell ill with swine flu, began filing off the liner in Sydney after they were cleared of the disease.

"No evidence of any additional cases of human swine influenza has been found on board the Pacific Dawn, and most importantly, there has been no person-to-person transmission on board the ship," said Kerry Chant, the top health official of the state of New South Wales.

The ship had been at the centre of an outcry after infected passengers were allowed to disembark from an earlier cruise in Sydney last week, prompting an explosion in Australia's swine flu cases.

The three-crew members who caught the disease have recovered but remain in quarantine, P&O Cruises said in a statement. The crew did not pass the virus on to any passengers.

Infected swine flu victims were allowed to disembark with other passengers a week ago when an earlier cruise ended in Sydney. Australia's swine flu cases had numbered fewer than 20 a week ago.