Cruise ship standoff continues in Australia amid COVID-19 concerns

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AUSTRALIAN authorities on Thursday continued a standoff with several cruise ships dwelling on the country’s coast amid COVID-19 concerns, reported Xinhua news agency.

More than a dozen cruise ships continued to linger in the waters off three Australian states, despite being directed by Australian Border Force (ABF) officials to leave.

Potentially infected passengers and crew on board the ships have delayed the ships departing Australian waters with more time requested to ensure the wellbeing of those on board.

So far all Australians and those who had earlier required medical assistance have been removed.

Anxieties were high regarding the potential for outbreaks from cruise ships after last month the Ruby Princess was allowed to dock in Sydney and released over 100 infected passengers into the community.

More than 300 cases in NSW have subsequently been linked to the ship, and the decision to allow passengers to disembark has drawn heavy criticism from all sides.

Meanwhile, a cruise ship remained docked in the state of Western Australia (WA) despite orders by government officials for it to leave.

Already, 40 people had been unloaded from the Artania after testing positive for COVID-19 and sent to nearby hospitals, however reports emerged of further cases on board, prompting the crew to request more time.