Time for Cruise Ship Covid Transparency from WA Health

Monday a week ago, 6 March 2023, the Coral Princess, a large cruise ship, docked in Fremantle on a ‘turnaround’ visit, as we reported here.

She’s a beautiful cruise ship, as our pic of her arriving shows.

Some 1700+ passengers disembarked and some 1900+ embarked later in the day before the vessel departed Freo.

As it transpires, she was late departing Freo. The reason was it seems there were a good number of Covid affected passengers on board. The number mentioned around the traps was in excess of 350. But do you think we can get confirmation or otherwise from WA Health, who are the regulator in WA in charge of infectious disease control, and told us to contact the ship’s agent for the information; or from the ship’s agent, who we telephoned and with whom we left a message requesting the information, but who have not returned our call.

Each week, WA Health publishes Covid statistics. They are very broad brush and provide little detail. Certainly, they don’t tell you anything about the incidence of Covid infections on cruise ships. We think we, the public, have a right to know such information, even if the cruise ship lines and their agents appear reluctant to divulge it.

Here’s the WA Health Report for the weekly period ending Thursday night immediately before 3 March 2023.

And here’s the latest one for the weekly period ending Thursday night immediately before 10 March 2023.

Amongst other things, you’ll see the number of new cases from the 3 March Report to the 10 March Report, has jumped from 2,390 to 2,546, a total of 156 cases.

However, the number of active cases dropped in the same period from 1,515 to 1,413, a drop of 102.

Positive PCR tests for the earlier week were 570 and positive RATs tests were 1,820.

In the following reporting week positive PCR tests were down 224, nearly by half, to 246, but positive RATs tests were up nearly 500 to 2,300.

This gets one wondering whether the big jump in positive RATs tests reflect what was going on on the Coral Princess while at sea for the 10-11 days prior to her 6 March return to Fremantle.

We put this question to WA Health and asked for their advice on just what the reporting from the Coral Princess was on the 10-11 day voyage ending in Freo on 6 March.

We asked for a response by 12 noon today, Tuesday 14 March.

WA Health didn’t favour us with a response.

Really, they should do better.

The public have a right to know what is happening, especially in significant, Covid sensitive settings, like a cruise ship, from the WA Covid regulator.

It’s time for WA Health to tell all.

By Michael Barker, Editor, Fremantle Shipping News


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