A Napier couple say they were not told by cruise ship authorities there was an outbreak of Covid-19 on board the Ruby Princess when they disembarked.

The next day, Andrew and June Ranyard started to experience coronavirus symptoms.

There are now 13 cases of coronavirus in New Zealand linked to the ship - seven of them confirmed since Thursday.

It is one of 10 clusters nationwide.

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June and Andrew Ranyard caught coronavirus after their latest trip on the Ruby Princess. Photo / Supplied
June and Andrew Ranyard caught coronavirus after their latest trip on the Ruby Princess. Photo / Supplied

After setting off on an 11-day voyage on March 8, the ship was forced to return to Sydney early, from Napier, after a handful of passengers started to feel unwell with respiratory symptoms. The ship had also visited Fiordland, Dunedin, Akaroa and Wellington.

New South Wales authorities have been slammed for the decision to allow 2700 passengers to freely disembark the cruise ship when it docked in Sydney on March 19.

At least 437 people in Australia with coronavirus had been on the ship. Seven Australian deaths have been linked to it.

The boat is now stricken off the coast of Sydney with 1000 or so crew aboard.

Princess staff did not tell passengers there was an outbreak on board until after they disembarked, Andrew Ranyard said. Photo / News Corp Australia
Princess staff did not tell passengers there was an outbreak on board until after they disembarked, Andrew Ranyard said. Photo / News Corp Australia

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The Ranyards said they had no clue there was an outbreak on board the ship when they disembarked, and were only told when they got home.

"The New South Wales Health Board let us off," he said.

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There was no testing done to make sure they were safe to release.

"We weren't told by any of the Princess team that there were infections on board."

Andrew Ranyard felt there was "a lot of wool pulled over people's eyes".

It is understood those who presented with an illness had swabs taken for Covid-19, however other passengers were not informed.

Their symptoms started with "sweats" and quickly moved to fevers, cramps, diarrhoea, chest coughs and migraine-level headaches that have lasted for 10 days.

Andrew Ranyard, 60, said he was "fit as an ox", but the virus has kept him bed bound until today.

Meanwhile, his wife has had milder symptoms the past two weeks.

"She's been my nurse, thank Christ. She's crashed now, so she's suffering a little bit at the moment."

New Zealand's Ministry of Health earlier said it was in the process of contacting the 56 New Zealanders who were on board the ship, working with Customs and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Ranyards already planned to self-isolate as soon as they returned home, and register with Healthline.

They went to a drive-through testing facility after their symptoms showed up and received their positive test results 36 hours later.

Hawke's Bay District Health Board staff started ringing the couple each day to ask them what their temperatures were, give them advice, and see if they needed anything.

"All I can say is that the Hawke's Bay DHB has been amazing," Andrew said.

The Ranyards ran into issues getting food when they realised grocery delivery was fully booked, but said their neighbours stepped in to do their shopping for them.

Andrew Ranyard said he was worried at first as the virus hit him hard.

"I was worried due to the lack of getting air in the lungs and that feeling that you can't breathe... you're breathing, but nothing's happening. You want more air and there's nothing there."

He said it was "very scary".

His wife was "partly asthmatic" and he said if the virus "really gets to her chest she will be in hospital".

"What do I do without her?"

But Ranyard was sure his 67-year-old wife would "pull through".

He said Kiwis needed to take the virus seriously.

"People are saying 'I got it but I got over it within a week'. Good on you, well done, thank goodness for that. But if it gets you, it hits you hard. Self-isolate, follow the rules."

Ranyard said he took his hat off to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for the measures she'd announced so far to slow the spread of the virus in New Zealand, but felt the borders should be completely closed.

"We don't want another Italy, Spain or America."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website