Aussie cruise ship passenger dies from COVID-19 in Western Australian hospital

Elias Hubbard
March 26, 2020

The report, published Monday, examined data from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined after passengers began testing positive for COVID-19 in February.

Cruise ships have become a flashpoint after 147 of 2700 passengers who were allowed to disembark from Carnival Corp's Ruby Princess later tested positive for COVID-19, a blunder that has highlighted official tensions in the handling of the crisis.

"SARS-CoV-2 RNA was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted", the study authors note, citing personal correspondence from Takuya Yamagishi at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

The CDC said researchers couldn't "determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces" and that further study of Covid-19′s spread through touching surfaces on cruise ships was warranted.

Previous research has shown that how long the coronavirus can live on an inanimate object depends on the type of surface and the temperature. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person.

"COVID-19 on cruise ships poses a risk for rapid spread of disease, causing outbreaks in a vulnerable population, and aggressive efforts are required to contain spread", the report said.

Western Australia is preparing Rottnest island, a former prison island turned tourist attraction, to quarantine some of the 800 Australians on board a third cruise ship, the British-operated Vasco de Gama.

As of March 13, 107, or 25 percent, of the 428 Americans on the Diamond Princess tested positive for CCP virus, the agency said. The remaining 129 Canadians were repatriated and sent to quarantine at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton for 14 days.

The CDC's report also detailed the other cruise ship, the Grand Princess, which was in limbo for days off the coast of California.

What is certain, the CDC says, is that cruise ships are "often settings for outbreaks of infectious diseases due to their closed environment and contact between travelers from many countries", according to the report.

On a separate Princess Cruises ship, the Grand Princess, crew members probably got the virus on an earlier voyage and then passed it on to passengers, according to the study.

The Canadian government has advised against cruise ship travel until further notice.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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