At least 300 cases of coronavirus have been linked to the Ruby Princess cruise ship, which is currently docked off the coast of Sydney, Australia. Over 200 of the ship’s 1,000 crew members have reportedly fallen ill and are currently self-isolating aboard the ship.
New South Wales (NSW) Ministry of Health authorities and an independent health care team boarded Ruby Princess on Thursday to assess the health of the crew. A 66-year-old man was evacuated from the ship, joining six other crew members who have already been hospitalized. It has not been confirmed if these patients have tested positive for coronavirus.
Ruby Princess’s 2,700 passengers were allowed to disembark prior to medical officials boarding the ship. About a dozen passengers had reported feeling unwell and were tested for COVID-19. According to Fox News, other passengers were not made aware of this before departing from the ship unscreened.
The situation has been considered “Australia’s worst coronavirus outbreak” by the country’s local media outlets and residents.
There are currently eight cruise ships lingering off the coast of New South Wales, despite Australian officials denying them port. The ships are carrying nearly 9,000 passengers and crew between them.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller shared a statement on Thursday, concerned that “bringing 9,000 people off the cruise ships” could “overload” local health care systems,
“We know around the world that when the hospital systems become overwhelmed, then lots and lots of people die,” Fuller said.
Fuller added that further updates on the cruise ships will be made on Friday.
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