Ruby Princess passenger, 62, dies in hospital after contracting coronavirus on deadly cruise ship – taking Australia’s death toll to 50
- A South Australian woman, 62, has died in the Royal Adelaide Hospital overnight
- The fatality brings the death toll of Ruby Princess cruise ship passengers to 15
- There are now almost 6000 cases of COVID-19 in Australia, including 50 deaths
Australia’s coronavirus death toll has risen to 50 after a Ruby Princess passenger died in Adelaide.
The 62-year-old woman, who was from Adelaide, died in the Royal Adelaide Hospital overnight.
She is the second person to die from coronavirus in South Australia.
The new fatality brings the cruise ship’s death toll to 15.
A 62-year-old South Australian woman has died, bringing the Ruby Princess death toll to 15
Francesco ‘Frank’ Ferraro, 75, the state’s first fatality, died in Royal Adelaide Hospital on Monday night after recently attending a wedding with guests from over seas.
More than 2,700 Ruby Princess passengers were freely allowed to disembark from the ship on March 19, despite two travellers on board displaying coronavirus-like symptoms 24 hours before the boat docked in Sydney.
There has since been more than 600 confirmed cases linked to the ship nationwide.
Across the country, 5,997 people have tested positive for COVID-19, with almost half of the nation’s total located in NSW.
Of NSW’s 2374 cases, 377 were Ruby Princess passengers.
The ship’s 14th fatality was a man in his 80s from Tasmania who passed away on Wednesday.
Other passenger deaths this week include an 84-year-old Perth man and a 78-year-old man from QLD.
The Ruby Princess is currently docked in Port Kembla, near Wollongong as criminal investigation begins into how passengers were able to disembark without health checks.
The investigation will cover the actions of the port authority, ambulance, police, NSW Health and ship operator Carnival Australia.
The ship is expected to spend up to 10 days in Port Kembla as its 1,040 crew members undergo medical assessments, treatment or emergency extractions.
The death brings South Australia’s death toll to two, after Frank Ferraro, 75, died in Royal Adelaide Hospital earlier this week
Around 200 workers have symptoms of the illness and no crew members are allowed to leave without permission from NSW Police commissioner Mick Fuller.
NSW Police said it would investigate whether national bio-security laws and state laws were broken.
‘From my perspective there are many unanswered questions,’ Mr Fuller said.
‘There seems to be absolute discrepancies between the information provided by Carnival and what I would see is the benchmark for the laws of the federal and state government.’
The NSW government is under fire after leaked emails revealed results of on board swab tests from the cruise ship’s passengers who were showing signs of influenza would have been available the same day passengers disembarked.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard is standing behind his staff who had allowed the Ruby Princess cruise ship to disembark in Sydney on March 19, despite knowing the results would be known within hours.
Defending the decision, NSW Health said in a statement on April 3 that transmission could not have been prevented by staff and the ‘vast majority’ of those diagnosed did not display symptoms until off the ship.
‘The Ruby Princess was assessed as low risk, based on the level of illness on board, the negative COVID-19 tests done on passengers while in New Zealand, and the positive influenza tests done on a large proportion of the passengers with influenza like illness,’ it read.
Timeline of Ruby Princess fiasco
March 18: The Ruby Princess issues an urgent mayday call for an ambulance for two of its passengers presenting with coronavirus-like symptoms 24 hours before the ship is allowed to dock in Sydney.
March 19: The Ruby Princess arrives in Sydney Harbour. More than 2,700 guests are allowed to disembark without adequate health checks.
March 25: Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram says New South Wales Health is responsible for letting coronavirus patients disembark the ship.
March 29: Several crew members are evacuated and taken to hospital after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
April 2: A 66-year-old crew member is taken off the Ruby Princess for medical treatment. More than 200 crew members are sick and in self-isolation.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian defends the actions of NSW Health and the Australian Border Force and points the finger at the Ruby Princess. She claims staff onboard may have misled NSW Health about the extent of illnesses in passengers.
April 3: Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton alleges Ruby Princess’ operators weren’t transparent about the health of crew: ‘It was ‘clear that some of the companies have been lying about the health of passengers and crew on board’.
April 4: Leaked emails show NSW Health knew of the coronavirus risk on board the Ruby Princess before allowing its thousands of passengers to disembark.
April 5: A criminal investigation is launched into how passengers were able to disembark without health checks