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Doctors set to be airlifted to cruise ships stranded off Australia

por Monika Neitenstein (2020-04-11)


Doctors may be airlifted on board eight cruise ships stranded off Australia's coast to test passengers for coronavirus to avoid letting all 8,000 of them dock in Sydney.   

Eight cruise ships have been locked in a stand off with the New South Wales government for nearly three weeks after refusing to leave Australian waters and go back to their country of origin.

One, the Ruby Princess is Australia's largest single source of infection with about 400 cases linked to the ship, five who have died.  

New South Wales Police Commissioner ­Mick Fuller said testing 8,615 people - most of which are crew members - would show the scale of coronavirus outbreaks on each ship, The Australian reported.

Under the plan, those who were infected would be extracted from the ships, while the remainder would be forced to stay on board and leave Australian waters. 






There are 324 coronavirus infections in NSW linked to cruise ships, including 211 cases from the Ruby Princess (pictured) and 79 from the Ovation of the Seas 







The Pacific Explorer, ­Carnival Splendour, Ovation of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas (pictured), Radiance of the Seas, ­Voyager of the Seas, Celebrity Solstice and the highly-infected Ruby Princess remain off the coast of NSW


'It would be an extremely large operation. It would involve the Department of Defence, we would need medical support,' Mr Fuller said on Wednesday. 

'If we had to extract 250 or 350 patients that needed a high level of care, we would need to look at portable hospitals, portable triaging, and that's before you even think about the logistics and security of moving 250 or 350 people.'

Cruise companies Carnival Australia and Royal Caribbean International haven't budged after the Federal Government on March 16 banned cruise ships from docking at Australian ports to stop the spread of coronavirus.

They appealed against the order to ABF Commissioner Michael Outram, with a decision expected in the coming days.  

Cruise liner Artania has defiantly stayed put at Fremantle port in Western Australia, after arriving on March 25. 

More than 40 of its crew and passengers have been taken to hospitals in Perth, suffering coronavirus symptoms.  

The Pacific Explorer, ­Carnival Splendour, Ovation of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, ­Voyager of the Seas, Celebrity Solstice and the highly-infected Ruby Princess remain off the coast of NSW.






New South Wales Police Commissioner ­Mick Fuller testing 8,615 people - most of which are crew members - would ascertain the scale of coronavirus outbreaks on each ship 







Police urged the foreign cruise ships to immediately sail home rather than risk flooding the state's hospitals with coronavirus patients


There are between 800 and 1300 people stranded onboard each ship. 

It comes after cruise companies begged the government to let passengers and crew be allowed to disembark in Sydney on humanitarian grounds. 

Three Ruby Princess crew members with severe symptoms were taken to hospital on Sunday night and another three crew were ferried to hospital on Monday night.

Six people from the Radiance of the Seas were transferred to shore on Monday afternoon.

Mr Fuller said the 8,000 people who remain on the ships were predominantly ­from Southeast Asia, the US and Canada, while Australians have been allowed to come home. 






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The Ruby Princess has become a major source of COVID-19 spread in Australia after around 400 infected passengers were allowed to disembark without adequate checks.

Police urged the foreign cruise ships to immediately sail home rather than risk flooding the state's hospitals with coronavirus patients.  

'There are thousands of people, potentially, in cruise ships off our coasts that aren't members of our state and if we take them in, then that could well flood our system unnecessarily,' Mr Fuller said.

'All the hard work we've done could be over. We will continue to allow them to have fuel and food ... but it is time to go to your port of origin.'






Australia's latest deaths are a person in Orange, in the NSW central west, and a 95-year-old woman from the COVID-19-infected Dorothy Henderson Lodge aged care home in Sydney 


Carnival Australia, 무료웹툰 however, says the crew on board the Bermuda-flagged Ruby Princess need to be repatriated 'on compassionate and humanitarian grounds'.

'It is not safe for the ship to sail away from Australia while there are crew members on board who are ill,' the company said in a statement.

'While illness on board has been reduced due to strong health management, the ship needs to remain within reach of Australia to access healthcare services if an urgent need arises.' 

There are 1100 crew on the Ruby Princess from 51 countries. The company argues while the ship is registered in Bermuda, its home port is effectively Sydney given it was here on a six-month cruise season.

Carnival wouldn't be drawn on whether the crew would be flown home but stated it was 'in high-level federal and state discussions with the aim of enabling the repatriation'.