Australia's coronavirus death toll reaches 35 as ANOTHER Ruby Princess passenger dies

Clay Curtis
April 6, 2020

New South Wales police announced Sunday that the agency's homicide squad will be leading the investigation into whether the ship's arrival in Sydney on March 19 violated the country's laws.

The New South Wales government is now working with the ship's owner, Carnival Australia, on plans to repatriate the 1,040 crew from 50 countries.

There have been at least 360 Covid-19 cases, including crew members, associated with the Ruby Princess.

The Ruby Princess, with crew only onboard, docks at Port Kembla.

Cruise ships have been a hotbed for the novel coronavirus beginning in February, when the largest outbreak outside mainland China was aboard the Diamond Princess ship, also operated by Princess Cruises.

Attorney-General Christian Porter on Monday backed the NSW Police investigation.

Two crew members were taken off for medical help on Sunday, and more would be taken off if necessary for health reasons, he said.

"After reviewing the information at hand, the only way I can determine whether our national biosecurity laws or our state laws were broken is through a criminal investigation", said Commissioner Fuller, urging passengers to contact the police with information.

Sick patients were being treated on board or transferred to hospital if needed, while the whole crew was being placed in isolation.

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"We will continue to make sure there is the highest level of security for the locals down in southern NSW".

New guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control saying cruise passengers shouldn't board commercial planes have limited who is allowed off the ship, Princess Cruises said in a statement, adding that only those with imminent chartered flights can disembark.

Fuller said the government had taken the decision to dock the Ruby Princess because of the regular supplies that need to go to the ship and because transfers at sea were a complex and risky task.

On March 19th the liner was allowed to disemark passengers at Sydney's Circular Quay.

As of Sunday, over 600 passengers of the vessel have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, of whom 11 have died.

As of Sunday, there are 16 cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand that are linked to the cruise ship.

Its being called the biggest peace time ship operation Sydney Harbour has ever seen.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt warned Australians they would have to keep their distance from others for a "difficult" six-month period.

All other cruise ships have left NSW waters, heading towards ports in Asia after a weekend operation to transfer crews between ships in order to facilitate their return to their home countries.

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