Leave now: Australia tells cruise ships to depart as cases rise

Medical staff at Perth’s COVID Clinic

Camera Icon Medical staff at Perth’s COVID Clinic. Credit WANews

A string of virus cases have been connected with cruise ship arrivals in Australia.

While remaining well below the levels seen elsewhere in the world, the number of cases in Australia is starting to pick up speed, rising to almost 2,800 infections and 12 deaths nationally.

But global passengers and also staff would certainly need to remain on board up until they can be flown out straight, claimed Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan.

Thousands of passengers on three cruise ships were stranded off Australia's west coast yesterday (Mar 25) as officials refused to let them land to avoid repeating the "utter disaster" of a previous cruise-related coronavirus surge.

The discrepancies echo similar tensions elsewhere.

Seven passengers on the Artania cruise ship, held offshore at anchor near Western Australia (WA), have tested positive for the COVID-19.

Bolsonaro, who has described the coronavirus as a "little flu" had called for schools and businesses to reopened.

"We've seen what has happened in Sydney harbour, it was a complete and utter disaster", McGowan said.

McGowan said the ship needed to leave as soon as possible and the government had to figure out a way to refuel the Artania.

A spokeswoman for MSC Cruises which owns the Magnifica declined to comment on where the vessel would go.

Hundreds of cruise liner passengers are to be put in coronavirus quarantine on an island residence to among Australia's prettiest marsupials - the cosy quokka.

The cruise ship Vasco de Gama, is due to arrive in Fremantle on Friday carrying 950 passengers and 550 crew.

WA has recorded 47 cases from cruise ships in total. "We want to make sure that those Australians are able to return".

The Magnifica and Artana have both reported unwell passengers on board.

"They will not be allowed to disembark at any time unless it is to travel under strict supervision directly to the airport, or they need urgent medical attention to survive", McGowan said.

Police, local government and Aboriginal patrols will monitor for breaches.

With infections rising quickly, Australia has ordered curbs, such as the forced closure of pubs, restaurants and cinemas.

Long queues have continued to spool around welfare offices across the country, while more than a quarter of a million Australians registered for financial help on Wednesday, according to the government services minister.

Further job losses are expected, with some economists expecting Australian unemployment to double this year to more than 11%.

Flight Centre today said a third of its 20,000 strong workforce faced temporary or permanent redundancy, while retail tycoon Solomon Lew's Premier Investments Ltd temporarily closed all stores in Australia.

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