A cruise ship with 250 sick passengers has asked permission to dock at Fremantle, possibly as soon as Monday night.
Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan said the MSC Magnifica was carrying more than 1700 passengers – 250 of whom have reported respiratory illnesses.
Mr McGowan said the ship had sought permission to arrive at Fremantle Port within 24 hours. He has been told the vessel needs to refuel, which must be allowed.
“I have contacted the PM and have spoken to the Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, to explain my priority is to protect West Australians,” he said.
“I will not allow what happened in Sydney to happen here. We will not allow passengers or crew to wander the streets.”
He said the state government was working through options for the ship with the Commonwealth and the Australian Defence Force.
Mr McGowan said if any of the MSC Magnifica passengers were critically ill, the state government would have to consider providing medical assistance.
“We will provide assistance to those with urgent needs,” he said.
“This is an emerging and an evolving issue.”
WA recorded 20 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking its total to 140. Six of the new confirmed cases are former passengers from the Ruby Princess, which docked in Sydney on Thursday.
WA Health Minister Roger Cook said 12 of the cases were in hospital, two in a critical condition.
A total of 48 passengers from the Ruby Princess have now tested positive to COVID-19.
The bulk of them were diagnosed in NSW but some were diagnosed interstate.
Mr McGowan had earlier lashed the NSW government for allowing Ruby Princess passengers to leave before all coronavirus test results were in.
“NSW had people coming off ships yesterday and that may have changed matters. We managed the cruise ship very, very well yesterday – so quite different to what happened in NSW,” he said.
A NSW Health spokesman said earlier that, from midnight on Sunday, all cruise ships would be held in port until any patients with respiratory issues had been tested for COVID-19.
“NSW Health will go even further beyond the national protocol and its current own state protocols,” the statement said on Sunday.
The Ruby Princess had 1148 crew and 2647 passengers on board when it travelled to New Zealand before returning to Sydney on Thursday.
All cases from the cruise ship are in isolation at home or in hospital. All passengers and crew have been notified and asked to self-isolate for 14 days as investigations continue.