Cruise ship related to Australian coronavirus deaths sails to the Philippines, to repatriate more than 200 crew, reports Reuters.
Crew allowed to disembark
A cruise ship being investigated in Australia for sparking coronavirus infections was anchored in Manila Bay on Thursday to repatriate more than 200 Filipino crew, leaving behind weeks of acrimony over why symptomatic passengers were allowed to disembark.
Carnival Corp’s Ruby Princess had been a flashpoint for anger in Australia for causing 97 coronavirus deaths came under criminal investigation after a spike in cases after its arrival in Sydney March 19.
Ship reached Manila Bay
The 19-deck ship reached Manila Bay, joining at least 16 other cruise ships at anchor waiting to be subjected to on-board testing for COVID-19 before any of the 5,000 Filipino crew members could disembark.
The coastguard spokesman said 214 Filipino crew members aboard the Ruby Princess will be tested but may have to wait behind those from other ships.
Disembarked without health check!
The Australian investigation is trying to determine why 2,700 passengers and crew were allowed to disembark without healthchecks.
Included at the hearing were details of medical logs a few days earlier that showed dozens of people aboard were showing acute respiratory symptoms, with numbers rising each day.
Death stem from the cruise ship
Nearly 700 guests who disembarked later tested positive for the coronavirus, some spreading it across Australia, including to far-flung places like Tasmania, where all but two of 12 deaths stem from the cruise ship.
Ready to cooperate with investigation
Carnival has said it would cooperate with the investigation by the New South Wales state homicide squad.
Tests in Manila Bay
Admiral Joey Garcia, commandant of the Philippine coastguard, said he hoped testing of the cruise ships in Manila Bay could be completed within a week and quarantine “graduates” could return home soon.
Crew members on 7 ships tested
On Wednesday, 1,912 Filipino crew members aboard seven ships were visited by task force personnel carrying out the tests.
Garcia said the ship itself is the quarantine place for the seafarers and the quarantine rule is to have all of them tested before they disembark.
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