More than 800 cruise passengers and crew headed home to Germany on chartered flights on Monday, March 30, while 41 others infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19) were admitted to an Australian hospital.
Initially, health authorities wanted to send the sick guests aboard Phoenix Reisen's Artania to the Hollywood and Bethesda hospitals in Fremantle (Perth, Western Australia). But doctors’ and nurses' groups argued that those hospitals had not been equipped to cope with the disease. The federal government struck a deal with the private Joondalup Health Campus, already treating patients with COVID-19.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced in a statement Monday that the humanitarian hospital care would be provided in one of the premier facilities of the state, which was fully prepared for and was already treating COVID-19 patients.
According to Western Australia state Premier Mark McGowan, 844 Artania passengers and crew had begun flying home on 4 chartered flights on Monday. About 479 crew members remained on the ship and he hoped that that ship would leave Western Australia in the coming days.
Around 200 Australians who were aboard another cruise vessel that arrived off Perth over the weekend, CMV Vasco da Gama, were ferried on Monday to Rottnest Island to be isolated for 2 weeks. Another 600 Australians will be quarantined in a hotel in Perth for 2 weeks.
On the east coast of Australia, paramedics evacuated 3 crew members overnight from a liner that has become the largest source of COVID-19 cases in Australia. According to New South Wales state Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant, the 3 patients are not Australian citizens and were taken from Ruby Princess, which is anchored off the coast of Sydney to a Sydney hospital via the help of water police.
Authorities have been criticized for allowing a total of 2700 passengers and crew members to disembark from the ship when she docked in Sydney on March 19 despite test results remaining unknown. A lot of the passengers travelled interstate and overseas before the risk was known. More than 300 contracted the virus from the cruise ship, including 2 women aged 77 and 75 who died.
For other Artania accidents and incidents see at the ship's CruiseMinus page.
For Coronavirus updates on cruise ship quarantines (infected passengers and crew) and top-pandemic countries (COVID-19 cases and deaths, daily updated statistics) see at CruiseMapper's Norovirus page.