Eight crew members from a cargo ship docked in Fremantle have tested positive for COVID-19.
The BBC California docked at 9am and eight workers with COVID-like symptoms briefly left the ship, with masks and gloves on, to be tested for the virus by health authorities before returning to their quarters.
WA’s Department of Health confirmed on Monday afternoon all eight seafarers had tested positive for the disease via rapid PCR testing.
The six remaining crew members, who have not reported symptoms, will be tested for COVID-19 on Monday afternoon.
Earlier on Monday, WA Premier Mark McGowan said it was hoped the crew could remain on board the ship to be quarantined given the potential for spreading the virus if they had to be taken to hospital or the airport in the case of replacement mariners being brought in.
“It is essential we don’t let our hard work be undone,” he said. “We’re seeing what’s happening in NSW and Victoria as we speak and we certainly don’t want any of that to come here.”
The ship was scheduled to berth in Kwinana, south of Perth, to take on a cargo of ammonium nitrate. It left Egypt last month before docking at three ports in virus-stricken Indonesia on July 11. The crew members started showing signs of sickness from July 12.
The Department of Health said the ship would remain in Fremantle with all crew members on board and medical assistance would be provided if required.
Testing of remaining seafarers will be carried out by PathWest staff in full PPE, the department said, and the process would be monitored by Infection Prevention and Control staff.