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7 passengers on Artania cruise ship test positive for COVID-19

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-03-26 17:33

SYDNEY - Seven passengers on the Artania cruise ship, held offshore at anchor near Western Australia (WA), have tested positive for the COVID-19.

WA Health Department officials boarded the ship on Wednesday after 25 people reported respiratory symptoms.

There are more than 800 passengers and 500 crew on board and none of them are Australians.

The seven confirmed cases are not in critical condition and remain on the ship.

WA Premier Mark McGowan has asked the federal government to deal with the situation.

"I have been in contact with the federal government to make clear our position, this ship and its passengers are a Commonwealth responsibility," he said.

"We'd like the Commonwealth to assist with that, we'd like those passengers ... if they have to, to go into a Commonwealth facility."

McGowan said the ship needed to leave as soon as possible and the government had to figure out a way to refuel the Artania.

Regarding the other ship Magnifica, the premier said work was being done to help it leave for Europe or another port.

McGowan said he did not want a repeat of the Ruby Princess fiasco in Sydney, where thousands of passengers were allowed to disembark and more than 100 tested positive to the COVID-19 later.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook confirmed 26 new cases of coronavirus overnight, bringing the state's total number to 231.

WA also reported its second COVID-19 death on Thursday. A male in his 70s passed away at Joondalup Health Campus after testing positive for the virus.

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