Sydney's Waverley College had to send students home after one tested positive for coronavirus. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

Health

Virus warning on ship, student infections

2020-05-27 17:12:52

Coronavirus has been detected onboard a live export ship in WA and forced two schools to close in Sydney, sparking fresh warnings of further outbreaks.

Six members of the Al Kuwait’s 48 crew have tested positive for the disease after the ship docked at Fremantle Port on Friday.

WA Premier Mack McGowan is concerned federal agriculture officials were aware crew members had a fever but allowed the ship to anchor without telling state authorities. 

The state’s health minister Roger Cook said the Al Kuwait incident highlighted the ongoing risks of the virus.

“We expect to see clusters of the virus continue to pop up. This is another reason why our hard border must stay for now,” he told reporters in Perth on Tuesday.

Two independent schools in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, which has been a virus hotspot, were closed on Tuesday after a student at each tested positive.

Waverley College and Moriah College sent students home a day after state schools reopened across NSW.

A teacher in Melbourne was confirmed to have coronavirus on Friday before 400,000 public school students returning on Tuesday.

The teacher, who is one of 17,500 staff tested before Victoria’s staggered reopening of primary and secondary education, had not been at Keilor Downs Secondary College.

In Queensland, a Ruby Princess passenger has tested positive more than two months after leaving the notorious cruise ship.

The state’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is maintaining a hardline on border closures despite pressure from the federal government and tourism operators.

Australia has recorded 7133 cases, with 15 added to the tally on Tuesday.

There are 478 active cases of coronavirus across the country, while the death toll stands at 102.

Tasmania could ease restrictions ahead of schedule after the number of active cases in the state fell to eight.

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner has indicated borders will reopen within 60 days to kickstart tourism.

Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said Australia had a good control over the virus as he reflected on the country’s position.

“We’re in a very cautious phase now of trying to move to a living-with-COVID-economy,” he told a Senate hearing.

Professor Murphy said the only thing he would change about the response to the disease was starting hotel quarantine earlier, but there hadn’t been the space initially.

Senior government sources believe the whole nation will be under stage three restrictions by the end of July.

Treasury expects that will allow about 850,000 jobs to be restored, with interstate travel and gatherings of up to 100 people allowed.

The first Australian human clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine are about to start in Melbourne and Brisbane, sparking hopes the disease can be stopped.

Results are expected from the first trial stage, which involve 131 healthy adults, in July.