Artania's Sick Taken to West Australian Hospital
Sick passengers and crew were taken off the German cruise ship Artania on Monday after reaching a “humanitarian agreement” with the Australian government.
Hundreds of healthy passengers have now been flown back to Europe, with only 16 passengers electing to stay onboard. The Phoenix Reisen ship is now expected to depart Australian waters.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the vessel has reached 41, with the 29 most recent cases also now in hospital at Joondalup Private Hospital in Western Australia. Over 70 passengers have displayed COVID-19 symptoms.
The choice of hospital was revised at the last minute after the Australian Medical Association voiced concern about the resources at earlier choices. Joondalup Private Hospital is already treating a number of COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, 200 Australians from the Vasco Da Gama cruise ship have arrived at Rottnest Island, Western Australia, for 14 days of quarantine. There are been no reports of COVID-19 cases on board, causing some to consider the quarantine a waste of money.
However, ABC health broadcaster Dr. Norman Swan has predicted that a surge in COVID-19 cases in Australia is likely to occur in a few days time, as thousands of Ruby Princess passengers were allowed to disembark in Sydney on March 19 and return to their homes across Australia without quarantine. Swan estimates a jump in cases could occur between April 3 and April 9.
The Ruby Princess is currently waiting off the coast of Sydney, NSW, with more than 1,100 crew quarantined on board. So far, three crew members have been taken to hospital ashore with COVID-19 symptoms.
There are currently 189 NSW cases of COVID-19 from the Ruby Princess, 66 cases from the Ovation of the Seas and 26 cases from the Voyager of the Seas. Both vessels docked on March 18. There are four cases in NSW from the Celebrity Solstice. According to the World Health Organization, Australia currently has nearly 4,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Six cruise ships off the coast of NSW have been ordered to leave Australian waters, with NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller accusing them of lingering. “NSW is not a safe haven for every cruise ship,” he said, indicating that those not flagged in Australia should return to their flag state.