In the growing scandal surrounding the Ruby Princess cruise ship, New South Wales has now registered its sixth death associated with the cruise ship where passengers were allowed to disembark before receiving the results of their COVID-19 tests.
On April 8, a 62-year-old woman from Adelaide died in the Royal Adelaide Hospital’s intensive care unit, bringing the national death toll to 50. She acquired the virus while onboard the Ruby Princess, and is the second death in two days after a grandfather, Francesco “Frank” Ferraro, died on April 6.
According to a New South Wales Health statement from April 8, there are 379 confirmed cases of COVID-19 diagnosed among passengers and crew who all acquired their infection while on, or in some cases possibly before boarding, the Ruby Princess.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that at least 19 additional people have tested positive after being in contact with ship passengers.
The Ruby Princess departed Sydney on March 8, heading out for a round-trip journey to New Zealand, and arrived back in Sydney on March 19.
NSW’s health department had allowed the passengers to get off the infected cruise ship as they determined it to be a “low risk,” said Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram at a press conference on March 25.
NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay wants a public inquiry into the saga and is calling for the NSW health minister to be removed, as it “starts and stops with him,” she told Sky News on April 7.
“Decisions were made largely … in secrecy. Because we still don’t know. There has been no apology, no explanation,” said McKay.
NSW Police have launched a criminal investigation into the case, and will examine the “communications, actions, and other circumstances that led to the docking and disembarking of the vessel at Sydney Harbour.” A team of 30 detectives from various divisions have been assigned to the case.