Ship crews quarantined

EIGHT crew from a bulk carrier docked in Fremantle have been put into quarantine, with the city’s port becoming a gateway for Covid-19.

Two of the crew had confirmed cases of the coronavirus, adding to the 24 from the livestock carrier Al Messilah who are also in hotel quarantine and one of their shipmates who was transferred to hospital as his condition deteriorated on Thursday.

“He is 35 years of age, he’s in Royal Perth Hospital in a negative pressure room as we speak,” premier Mark McGowan said at a press conference.

Weak point

The premier has admitted Fremantle’s port is a weak point in the state’s hard border; he wants prime minister 

Scott Morrison to take action against international shipping companies to ensure they don’t send ships to WA with infected crew.

Fremantle Ports CEO Chris Leatt-Hayter said 16 crew remained on the Al Messilah to ensure “safe manning” while it was in port.

“The health department has advised that there is no risk to the community as a result of these ships being in port,” Mr Leatt-Hayter said.

“The vessels are in secure areas and WA Police are ensuring nobody can disembark without clearance by the health department, in which case they would be transferred for medical treatment or isolation.”

Earlier in the week it was revealed two Australian members of the Al Messilah crew had been permitted to leave the ship, with one catching a plane over east and the other driving down south to self-isolate, before the virus had been detected on board.

Both have since tested negative.

By STEVE GRANT

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