In wake of the deadly crisis which is spreading at a very rapid pace across the world, the Australian police along with the military will soon begin sending doctors to approximately eight cruise ships which are stranded near Sydney harbour to conduct tests and check-up on nearly 9,000 crew for COVID-19, officials reportedly said on April 2. This military-style of operation is all set to begin this coming up weekend
The joint operation is aimed at resolving a tiff between cruise line operators and authorities who fear that the passengers could be contaminated with coronavirus cases and would overwhelm local hospitals. The Australian government had ordered a ban on all cruise liners in mid-March but later allowed all the citizens to disembark from four ships in Sydney – a decision which led to more than 450 new virus cases in the country.
Police Commissioner Mick Fuller of New South Wales who has taken the responsibility of the operation reportedly said that he fears of bringing 9,000 people off the cruise ships into isolation, despite the fact that any one of the patients could have the virus or they may develop symptoms, that would overload the hospital system. It's a big task to drop doctors across all the eight ships which has a total of 9,000 passengers.
As per reports, the commissioner also said that anyone found in urgent need of medical care will be brought to facilities onshore and the ships will be expected to head to their home ports with the rest of their crews aboard. The officials are reportedly in constant talks with the owners of the ships and are adopting all sorts of sensible but pragmatic approaches to the ships.
As per reports of local media, a total of 18 foreign-registered ships are in Australian waters or ports with up to 15,000 crew on board. The ship owners have reportedly asked that the crew stuck on the ships should be allowed to fly back to their native countries. The authorities in Western Australia have permitted approximately 800 German cruise ship passengers to fly home last weekend, officials have done the same for thousands of crew.
(Image credit: AP)