Head Doctor Aboard Cruise Ship with COVID-19 Outbreak Dies
Though cruise sailings have been largely suspended, fatalities related to COVID-19 outbreaks on board cruise ships have continued to rise - an expected consequence of the large number of infections and suspected infections on board dozens of vessels worldwide.
The head shipboard doctor from the cruise ship Costa Fascinosa has died after being transferred to shore for medical treatment in Santos, Brazil. On Thursday, Italian media outlets identified the deceased as Paolo Mudanò, 70, a resident of Genoa. The cause of death has not been confirmed.
The Costa Fascinosa has been quarantined at the port of Santos since March 19 due to an outbreak of COVID-19 on board. A local court initially ordered all of her crew to stay on the ship, but Costa has since made arrangements to begin repatriating her crew. 227 Filipino crewmembers took a flight back to their home country on Saturday.
According to Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), there were nearly 60 suspected coronavirus cases on board the vessel as of last weekend.
A U.S. national who was on board the Ruby Princess during her last voyage has died due to complications from COVID-19. The deceased, American national Steven Lazarus, 76, was in treatment at a hospital in California for two weeks after his repatriation.
Lazaras was one of about 3,000 passengers who disembarked the Ruby Princess in Sydney, Australia on March 19. Over 600 have since tested positive for the novel coronavirus, making the ship Australia's largest single source of COVID-19 cases.
At least 19 coronavirus deaths have been linked to the vessel. The family of one other passenger who died after the cruise, 64-year-old American national Chung Chen, has filed suit against Princess Cruise Lines in connection with the outbreak.
1,000 crewmembers remain on board Ruby Princess, including about 140 individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. An effort is under way to test all of those remaining on board within 48 hours, according to the New South Wales government. Officials have ordered the ship to depart Australian waters by Sunday.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has launched a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding Ruby Princess' arrival and the disembarkation of her passengers. The province's homicide squad is leading the inquiry, and the team recently boarded the ship to seize VDR data and other potential evidence. Police have asked for public tips and have taken the unusual step of sending a survey to all passengers from the ship's two previous voyages seeking information.
A crewmember from the cruise ship Artania passed away Thursday at a hospital in Perth, Australia from COVID-19 complications.
The seafarer, a 42-year-old Philippine national, is Australia's youngest coronavirus victim. His name has not been released.
According to Australian health minister Roger Cook, the man's family was notified, and family members were able to get in contact with him before his death. "My thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends and fellow crew members in what must undoubtedly be a very difficult time for them," Cook said.
The Artania is currently docked at Fremantle, but she has been ordered to leave by Saturday.