At least eight of the 14 crew members on board a cargo ship stationed in Australia have tested positive for Covid-19, raising concerns that the rest of the crew may be infected as well.
Eight crew members on a cargo ship moored in Perth have tested positive for Covid-19, raising concerns about the ship’s remaining six passengers.
About 9 a.m. on Monday, health officials and police arrived at Fremantle Port to help crew members with coronavirus symptoms disembark the BBC California for testing. They returned to the ship after that.
Following fast PCR testing, the Health Department confirmed they had all been diagnosed with Covid-19 later that day.
The crew and shipping agent have been notified, according to the Health Department.
The remaining six crew members on board the ship who are not sick will be tested later Monday and will return to the ship promptly.
They will also be given serology testing to see if they have ever been exposed to the virus.
The vessel will stay berthed at Fremantle Port for the time being, with all crew members remaining on board, according to the department.
“However, if medical aid is required, it will be offered to the crew.”
Premier Mark McGowan had earlier told reporters that the pilot who brought the ship in was wearing full PPE.
“Those eight symptomatic crew members were temporarily removed from the ship and required to wear masks, gloves, and maintain safe distance. “They were transported to a specially designed swabbing station,” he explained.
“The crew then went to their quarters on board the ship to complete their isolation.”
Mr McGowan stated that every step was taken to protect the safety of port personnel and the general public in Western Australia.
“There were no medical personnel on board the ship. “Port workers on the ground wore the proper PPE, such as gloves and masks, and followed all approved procedures,” he said.
“To manage the ship and the crew, our authorities are working closely with the captain, shipping agent, vessel owner, and Commonwealth agencies.”
Filipinos, Russians, Ukrainians, and Bulgarians are thought to be among the crew members.
Mr McGowan claimed the ship appeared to be “heavily infected,” making things more difficult for officials, although he was told everyone had their own berth.
“Obviously, if the crew can stay on board and quarantine there, it decreases the risk to all of us,” he said.
“Taking the crew off the ship and transporting them around the country, to hospitals and airports… actually increases the risks.”
Overnight in hotel quarantine, WA recorded one new viral case – a woman in her late teens.
Seven active cases remain in WA, including one man who is in a stable condition in hospital.
He became ill on-board another ship — the Emerald Indah — and was taken off the vessel in Geraldton.
Meanwhile, WA Health Minister Roger Cook said the state’s contact tracers had “swung into action” to help New South Wales with its outbreak.
“Over the weekend, we did contact tracing for 31 cases,” he said.
“The cases were very complex, in large families. Some 18 of these cases require the assistance of an interpreter.”
On Saturday, seventeen employees were dedicated to NSW contact tracing, assisting with 20 instances, and another sixteen employees assisted with 11 cases on Sunday.
“Given the gravity of the situation in NSW and the fact that it is still unfolding, I expect our team to remain on the ground for as long as it is needed,” Mr Cook said.
Mr McGowan expressed his condolences to everyone in NSW and Victoria.
He asked residents of those states to adhere to the lockdown measures in order to “crush and kill” the illness.