Police have confirmed a criminal investigation will be launched after nearly a third of Australia’s coronavirus-related deaths have been attributed to Carnival Corp’s Ruby Princess cruise ship.
On March 19 the ship was allowed to disembark 2700 passengers in Sydney when many passengers had flu-like symptoms. So far over 600 of those people have tested positive for COVID-19.
“There are 10 deaths relating from the Ruby,” NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said in a press conference on Sunday. “That’s a significant amount of deaths for one incident.”
Since the press conference, another death has been recorded, bringing the Ruby Princess-related Covid-19 death toll to 11.
Commissioner Fuller said there were “many unanswered questions” regarding Carnival Australia’s conduct and if the Ruby Cruise operator had downplayed the number of Covid-19 cases on board before passengers disembarked. He said “it’s “too early to tell” if a crime was committed.
“There seems to be absolute discrepancies between the information provided by Carnival and what I would see as the benchmark for the laws that the Federal Government and the State Government put in place in terms of protecting Australians from cruise ships when coronavirus had started,” he told media.
“The only way I can get to the bottom of whether our national biosecurity laws and our state laws were broken is through a criminal investigation.”
The Ruby Princess is currently stationed off Sydney’s coastline, where crew members have been tested for the coronavirus over the past few days.
With additional reporting by Reuters.
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