A 42-year-old Filipino crew member that was working on the coronavirus-plagued Artania ship in Western Australia, has died at Royal Perth Hospital on Thursday.
He is the youngest person in Australia to die from coronavirus. This takes the death toll in Australia to 63.
The announcement was made by Western Australian Health Minister Roger Cook on Friday afternoon, and is one of two deaths due to COVID-19 announced in Australia today.
“My thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends and fellow crew members in what must undoubtedly be a very difficult time for them,” stated Mr. Cook.
“His family have been notified and were put in contact with that crew member via translators and the shipping company, and they were able to reach out to him in his dying days,” Mr Cook told reporters on Friday.
The man was taken off the boat several days ago when he was symptomatic. “The procedure is that anyone who is symptomatic on the boat is then taken off the boat and isolated in a city hotel,” Mr Cook said.
“Then they are swabbed for COVID-19. So if any crew members are coming up as positive, they’re already off the boat.”
294 Filipino crew registered on Artania
Over 50 crew members from the Artania have tested positive to coronavirus. It is unknown if any of them are Filipinos. There are reports of 34 patients in Perth hospitals, including six in intensive care.
The Philippine Embassy on 3 April released a Press Statement on Filipino Crew Members onboard Cruise Ships in Australia, which stated “The Philippine Embassy and its consulates in Australia have been closely monitoring the situation of cruise ships in NSW and other states. The immediate focus of the Philippine government is the medical and mental well-being of Filipino crew who are on almost every vessel around the globe.”
The Embassy also released Advisory on 3 April which states, “The Philippine Foreign Service Posts in Australia and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) continue to work closely with the manning agencies and state and federal authorities to ensure the health and safe repatriation of the Filipino crew of the cruise ships.”
“The Philippine Foreign Service Posts in Australia remain committed in upholding the welfare and safety of Filipinos in Australia.”
WA coronavirus cases
According to WA Department of Health, the total of confirmed cases of coronavirus case in the state is 541.
There were seven who have died in WA.
According to WA Health, the state has recorded 219 positive tests among people linked to cruise ships, including 79 from the Artania and 53 from the Ruby Princess.
Premier Mark McGowan said the man’s passing was very sad, but it was still in the interests of everyone for the ship to leave as soon as possible.
“The Commonwealth has issued them with a directive to leave tomorrow,” he told reporters. “If I was a crew member of that ship I would want to get home.”
The German liner is expected to leave on Saturday 18 April, as it is the deadline given to them by Australian Border Force.
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