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 Ruby Princess fiaso: the merde is hitting the fan!

25.03.20. The headline editors at The Australian are getting loose with their descriptors. The owners of the cruise ship Ruby Princess will be miffed to read that their huge investment has been dubbed by a dimwit as a “death ship!” The front page headline read, “Border Force blamed for death ship disaster.” That aside, all involved with setting free 2,700 passengers, some of which could spread coronavirus throughout the land, are now running for cover as the blame-game, he said, she said argument begins.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told a confidential partyroom meeting on Tuesday that Australian Border Force officials were ­responsible for a catastrophic decision to release 2700 cruise ship passengers into the community, and that the agency should wear the blame for the risk of contagion ­unfolding in various states. 

Source: Yoni Bashan, News Corp

Coronavirus: Border Force blamed for Ruby Princess cruise ship disaster

Ms Berejiklian made the remarks as it emerged one passenger from the Ruby Princess died on Tuesday morning and at least 133 others had become infected with the virus — including one NSW man, Greg Butler, 56, who left the ship, travelled for six hours on public transport to Tamworth, and then fell ill days later while in quarantine. He is being treated in an isolation ward in hospital.
Passengers from the ship dispersed across the country and overseas after passing through the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Sydney’s Circular Quay without being screened for the virus or having their passports checked.
At least 20 per cent of the passengers were US residents, and ­another 17 per cent — about 200 people — were from a “variety of other countries”, NSW Health said in a statement.
Graded “low risk” by health ­officials on arrival, the cruise ship has become one of the largest single sources of coronavirus infections in the country, and has intensified scrutiny of the Berejiklian government at a time of heightened concern around the rapid transmission of COVID-19.
After the ship docked, passengers were granted permission to disembark before coronavirus testing of 13 flu swabs had been completed, sparking disbelief in the community and a demand for clarity over an apparently drastic breakdown of procedure.
The Australian can also reveal that the master of the Ruby Princess allegedly told Australian Border Force officials there were no sick people on board the ship as it pulled into Sydney, raising questions as to why an ambulance was on standby to transport a passenger — the woman who died — when the vessel docked at 2.29am.
Several state government MPs confirmed to The Australian that Ms Berejiklian, who has made no public remarks about the Ruby Princess, lay the blame for the ­entire fiasco with the ABF during Tuesday’s partyroom meeting.
The Premier said ABF officials instructed NSW Health to release the 2647 passengers because no one was known to have flu symptoms. This is despite 13 flu tests having been conducted onboard the ship in the preceding days, and five tests for COVID-19 that were conducted in New Zealand and ­returned negative for the virus.
Part of the breakdown in communication can be traced back to the ship. As the Ruby Princess pulled into Sydney, its crew advised the ABF there were no unwell passengers on board, a fact confirmed to The Australian by a federal official with knowledge of the matter.
The ABF did not respond to a request for comment and neither did Carnival Australia, the company that owns the ship.
More than 30 hours after the ship’s arrival and dispersal of passengers, health officials discovered the 13 flu swabs they had run through testing were positive for four cases for COVID-19 — three passengers and a crew member.
Eleven of the passengers have since been confirmed with the virus in Western Australia; nine reside in Queensland; three in Tasmania; two in the Northern Territory, and one in the ACT, ­according to NSW Health data.
Some passengers are now seeking legal advice against the government and the cruise ship operator. Shine Lawyers issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was investigating legal avenues on behalf of people on the ship who had made contact.
The Premier also took aim at the ABF’s lackadaisical screening policies, pointing to plane loads of people who disembark at airports without any vetting for possible flu symptoms.
“She said it wasn’t our failing — it was the feds,” said one MP who was at the meeting. A second MP, confirming the Premier’s remarks, described her response as an “arse-covering exercise”.
NSW Labor called for an intensification of screening at all ports and queried why an ambulance was on standby when the ship arrived, apparently when no one was reporting ill on board.
The ambulance was on hand to retrieve the woman who died on Tuesday morning, NSW Health said in a statement.
“The government have failed us here in NSW. It has been a colossal stuff-up. They have allowed people to just come and go, in and out of this port,” Labor deputy leader Yasmin Catley said.
Amid the blame game erupting between the federal government and NSW, concerns remain as to how passengers came to be let off the ship before testing for COVID-19 had been completed.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told The Australian that, at the time that there was no hint of the virus being on board the ship. NSW Health ordered testing of the 13 flu swabs as a precautionary measure after being advised that some patients had shown respiratory issues.
The ship’s doctor could test for influenza-like illnesses, but not COVID-19, Mr Hazzard said.
But ultimately, Mr Hazzard added, NSW Health staff were acting in line with federal government protocols. Testing of swabs taken at sea are not compulsory under the protocols, and NSW Health has insisted for days that its procedures exceed those specified for cruise ships.
“Personally, I think the federal guidance is very lacking in appropriate directions. But I understand that every day, everybody is just trying to keep up with fast-changing circumstances,” Mr Hazzard said.
The guidelines in NSW have since been updated for cruise ships, eight more of which are due to arrive this week. They will now be held at port if COVID-19 tests are conducted, in anticipation of the results, even if it means passengers miss connecting flights.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Penguinite 25/03/2020, 7:43 am

    The ship’s Master mis-declared the state of health of his passengers and crew in order to obtain a berth! The Master would have known he had sick people on-board but lied! However, there should have been some Border Authority to supervise passengers disembarking!

  • Pensioner Pete 25/03/2020, 7:46 am

    Clearly, very, very clearly, there is something amiss with our border forces, not only in regard to this ship, also in regard to the continuing flights from and to China/Australia, as per usual, when people are at home, the FedEx cargo flights, laden with our supermarket dunny paper and other items plus pharmaceuticals leave in the evening for China.

    As I type, there are incoming flights from China to Sydney and Melbourne, early morning arrivals of course, how better to conceal this activity?

    We the people, are called upon to exercise quarantine conditions whilst the borders remain porous by air and by sea. Something, simply does not stack up.

    Borders closed are they?, in a pigs eye they are.

    • Bushkid 25/03/2020, 2:54 pm

      The citizenship ticket is the gold pass, regardless of any other affiliation via “dual citizenship”.

      Those with citizenship or permanent residence status are allowed to return to Australia. Oh, and their immediate family too, of course.

      There should be only one citizenship. You cannot be loyal to two countries at once.

  • Knight Templar 25/03/2020, 8:53 am

    If the USA had released this Coronavirus the UN would have crucified them….Trump would’ve been cactus.
    But hey, China despite being the culprit by deliberately and willfully releasing this virus to destroy the West hardly gets any criticism.
    The Chinese of course would know that apart from Trump the rest of the world would not point the finger at them.
    Our politicians and bureaucrats are weak kneed, useless oxygen thieves.

    • Lorraine 25/03/2020, 9:05 am

      our politicians may not point the finger, but I will and many other Australians that see the Chinese gangs clearing our supermarkets of Baby formula and dry goods, to send home to China….we will yell and yell, and we will not trust a Chinaman so easily again

      • Disgruntled 25/03/2020, 12:01 pm

        Get up em Lorraine.
        I am heartily sick, sick of a large number of our leading and sycophantic pollies of all colours blatantly fawning over the “yellow peril”. Totally pathetic it all is. These bastards are not only buying parts of Australia but what they are getting is the best of the best,, leaving us with the rest!!!!!
        Read the following link and give it a long long serious thought and all of you, get up your representative pollies accordingly.


        I would like to see Treason reintroduced! It’s past time!!
        Hey we all know which pollies are Australia’s real friends, don’t we!, and when voting time comes around again do the honorable thing

      • Disgruntled 25/03/2020, 12:33 pm

        Hey, can anybody come on and state where most of the virus outbreaks in the world have originated from?? A big article would be nice. A local chap was giving me a run down the other day and he said the Spanish flu early last century came from China, devastated Spain, but no one would call it for what it was. {“Poor China”}, blame Spain!!!! You know how it is eh.

  • Lorraine 25/03/2020, 9:09 am

    Peta Credlin points the finger squarely at Hazard , claims he should be stood down ,as he is the person to blame….Gladys is protecting him. She is blaming the feds , funny how the blame game goes

    • Ivan Ackeroff 25/03/2020, 9:49 am

      Maybe by name, by nature eh?

    • Disgruntled 25/03/2020, 12:25 pm

      That Credlin bird is sure good isn’t she? Last night on Sky she seemed to really know her stuff and made Jones look like a boy.
      I give her more credibility than Jones and I hope she soon becomes number one. She has the knowledge and experience and best of all the integrity. Go Peta, I like your outlook on most things!!

  • Aktosplatz 25/03/2020, 12:48 pm

    Hmm – more evidence as to how over-governed we are

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