Senate debates

Monday, 23 March 2020

Questions without Notice

Coronavirus

2:46 pm

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business) Share this | Hansard source

The Australian government banned all cruise ship arrivals from 16 March for 30 days. This action reinforced those of the industry, which has already moved to scale back its activities. The government is committed to slowing the spread of the virus and will consider taking further action as a response in this space. The New South Wales government has addressed its response to the Ruby Princess. The Ruby Princess cruise originally left Sydney port on 8 March for a planned 13-night journey to New Zealand. This was cut short after the government announced bans on vessels. Because the vessel was already on the water at this time, in transit, it was granted an exemption to port in Australia. The decision to allow passengers to disembark was made by New South Wales authorities, who assessed them as low-risk. This meant passengers could go home but would need to self-isolate for 14 days. We're aware of media reports that, since disembarking, passengers have tested positive for COVID-19 and we understand that New South Wales health authorities are contact tracing passengers. As of 21 March the ship is at sea off the New South Wales coast near Sydney, with the crew in isolation on board the vessel.

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