Three new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Western Australia, including two on board a ship anchored off the state’s north-west coast.
WA Health Minister Roger Cook on Thursday said one of the new cases was a returned traveller from the United Kingdom, while the other two were crew members of a bulk carrier from the Philippines.
All are men aged between 34 and 51.
The three coronavirus cases take the state’s total number to 668.
Mr Cook said the Patricia Oldendorff, a bulk carrier anchored nine nautical miles off Port Hedland since September 16, held 20 Filipino nationals and its captain.
He said the vessel was scheduled to berth earlier this week before its captain informed the WA health department that two crew members were showing “flu-like symptoms”.
Two nurses, both wearing personal protective equipment, boarded the ship via helicopter to collect samples, with preliminary results coming back positive on Wednesday night.
“They’ve had some carriage of the disease from the Philippines and there must be some spread among the crew there,” Mr Cook said.
The two crew members remain in isolation on board the ship.
Mr Cook said a rapid response team would assess the situation in Port Hedland on Friday morning.
“We don’t anticipate any of the crew coming to Perth,” he said.
“The safety of Western Australians will be our highest priority in dealing with these cases.”
Australian Associated Press