BY KIM VUGA
Yesterday a live stream press conference was addressed by NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard who told us that The Ruby Princess docked in Sydney on Thursday, had at least four passengers testing positive to COVID-19 and had allowed all other passengers off the ship. Brad Hazzard has admitted that his staff made a mistake allowing the passengers to disembark. Authorities now are left scrambling to find all 2,700 passengers who are now spread across the country, to tell them that they must place themselves in quarantine immediately for 14 days.
Four cruise ships — Ovation of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Ruby Princess and Celebrity Solstice — docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay Sydney in the last two weeks letting off thousands of passengers. Each of the four ships has now been found to have concealed the coronavirus.
Are you sitting there shaking your head? Well I certainly am because if that wasn't bad enough a new report has been released according to the Sydney Morning Herald that another 158 passengers on a previous cruise ship that docked in Sydney harbour on March 8, has now revealed that more than 150 people were found to be unwell, with 15 of them included in the COVID-19 count across Australia at the time.
It was only last week that Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a 30-day ban on all foreign cruise ships docking in Australia, but the Government made an exemption for four more ships which were already on their way, including the Ruby Princess.
A second cruise ship is arriving in the WA port of Fremantle on Saturday and a third is set to dock in Darwin this week.
We can only hope that testing takes place of ALL passengers on board the incoming ships and we don't see a repeat of the mishandling of The Ruby Princess.
One wonders how many more mistakes can we make? Haven't we made enough?
I am of the belief that we should have shut our borders down earlier, as there was a 3 week period in February that Australia's total number of COVID-19 cases were only showing a total number of four.
I get that we would have Australians eager to return home, it is not their fault, it is the authorities who have let Australia down. Every cruise ship that pulled into Australian ports should have had the passengers taken off the boats and placed in quarantine zones onshore for 14 days, like we did with the passengers on the Princess Diamond and ALL tested for COVID-19 before being allowed to return home and roam around Australia.
Self isolation should never have been allowed either, this was another terrible mistake. This was a huge fail!
There have been tens of thousands of people over the last 8 weeks that flew into Australia on planes. Many initial passengers were not even given orders to self isolate and the ones that were directed to self isolate in recents weeks some people did the right thing and followed directions however, there were others who didn't care less and moved about around our communities spreading the deadly COVID-19.
Only this week I was told that a couple from the UK was out and about in Townsville viewing rental properties, filling in application forms and shopping when they should have been quarantining for 14 days.
Did we not learn anything from the "Diamond Princess" where 712 ended up infected?
Did we not learn anything at all?
And then this - Figures from Department of Home Affairs show 31,196 Chinese students have now arrived in Australia since mid-February. At the time a rate of 1,000 students a day were let into to Australia according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
How the hell did we allow an exemption for the staggering 31,196 Chinese students we allowed to flood into our country - BIG MISTAKE!
How dumb can we be? Seriously?
Yesterday we shut down our iconic Australian beaches because people won't adhere to the newly implemented social distancing laws - good call. But tell me why the bloody hell are our schools still open? This is yet another mistake.
The schools should only be available for the children of doctors, nurses and the frontline workers. If you are not working from home very soon you won't be able to go to work anyway.
We had ample time to shut down our borders and protect our nation, this should have been done from day one. We are weeks behind and will never be able to make up for those lost weeks when we could have done more and we didn't. We have failed miserably. And for those of us who get through the next few weeks, months that lie ahead, we too just like Italy, Spain, Iran & China will start having to bury our loved ones.
Australia very shortly, within the next few weeks and months will start to see States and Territories, then entire suburbs in complete lock down. Darwin's Chief minister, Michael Gunner has already done the smartest move of them all and shut down all the borders to the NT.
What we get to witness in the next few weeks will truly be incomprehensible, frightening and will leave our nation in mourning.
Am I angry? Bloody oath I am angry because I am sick to death of seeing mistake after mistake being made and I know what lies ahead. It's now too late to contain the virus.
This Tuesday coming we will have more than, 1,500 cases, 3,000 cases next Saturday, 6,000 on the 1st of April and a predicted 12,000 people infected by the 4th of April. By the end of April the figures looks to be at least 40,000.
Oh by the way, one last point. Don't dare tell me that this is just like the flu!