Behemoth sparks coronavirus fears

Jackson Lavell-LeeAugusta Margaret River Times
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The Queen Mary 2 will dock in Busselton today amid fears of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Camera IconThe Queen Mary 2 will dock in Busselton today amid fears of a COVID-19 outbreak. Credit: Supplied: Stephen Hubbard

Busselton residents have expressed concern over quarantine protocol for cruise ships diverted to Busselton amid escalating fears of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Queen Mary 2 will dock at Busselton Jetty today as part of a 113-night cruise starting and finishing in New York.

The ship has a capacity of 2691 passengers and 1292 crew members.

Busselton resident Ian Robertson, 73, said he was “dead against” more cruise ships docking at Busselton Jetty. “I’m really worried, and so are a lot of people on Marine Terrace,” he said.

“Something has to be done because panic is escalating.

“They should be quarantined the minute they get off the ship.”

Busselton business owner Nicole Liedermoy said she was concerned for her health and wanted cruise ship passengers to be provided with hygiene equipment when disembarking.

A WA Government spokesman said strict protocols were in place for the cruise ships and the Australian Border Force was implementing “robust” assessment processes.

“All passengers and crew on cruise ships who visit Busselton will have not travelled to or through high-risk areas in their 14 days prior to their arrival,” he said.

“Regardless, all ships, passengers and crew visiting Busselton are required to meet the 14-day COVID-19 incubation period and are not permitted to come on land prior.”

City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said it was “almost inevitable” that the South West would see cases of COVID-19 and the City was taking advice from the Department of Health.

He said if restrictions on cruise passengers disembarking at Australian ports were implemented by the Federal Government, the City would implement those protocols without delay.

So far there have been six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in WA, with one death, and 1700 negative tests.

Broadwater Medical Centre’s Dr Sarah Moore said there had been a surge in patients presenting to the Busselton Health Campus with suspected Covid-19 symptoms this week.

“Transmission is through contact rather than respiratory, so keep at least 1.5m away from people who you may suspect have symptoms,” she said.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said it was essential to be prepared with a COVID-19 clinic based in Busselton.

“The McGowan Government needs to ensure that travelling to one of the clinics in Perth is not the only option if there is an outbreak in the region,” she said.

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