Cruise

Ruby Princess doctor says she wouldn’t have let passengers disembark

A doctor who was onboard Ruby Princess has said she would not have allowed passengers to disembark when they did.

According to senior doctor Ilse Von Watzdorf, several passengers with flu-like symptoms who tested negative for influenza were swabbed for COVID-19 but were allowed to disembark before the results came back, ABC News reported.

“I was surprised that we were allowed to do that without waiting for the results to come through,” she told the NSW government’s special commission of inquiry.

“If it was my decision, I would’ve perhaps waited like the previous time.”

Von Watzdorf said it would be wrong to say there were no signs or symptoms of COVID-19 aboard Ruby Princess in the hours before it docked.

Almost 2,700 passengers disembarked the ship in Sydney Harbour on 19 March, despite some of them showing symptoms of the virus.

Since then, more than 600 cases have been linked to Ruby Princess and at least 21 deaths.

Following an extensive operation led by the NSW police to repatriate some crew members, Ruby Princess is expected to leave Port Kembla today.

Princess Cruises president Jan Swartz thanked the crew of Ruby Princess in a statement, as well as the Illawarra community for their support.

“The nightly applause ceremony in which the crew clapped all of the people who supported and cared for them during this difficult time was a wonderful expression of goodwill that was reciprocated by the community,” Swartz said.

“So, thank you to the crew of Ruby Princess and to the local community for its embrace of the crew with the delivery of care packages and handwritten messages of support from so many people.”

To mark its gratitude to the local community, Princess Cruises will make a contribution of $50,000 to the Mission to Seafarers at Port Kembla.

Swartz said the Mission’s support of the Ruby Princess crew was emblematic of the caring spirit of the Illawarra community as a whole and the cruise line was very grateful for their sentiment and support.

“The Illawarra community never lost sight of the fact that this was all about people caught up in difficult circumstances that were not of their making,” she said.

Carnival Australia president Sture Myrmell has also thanked the Illawarra community for their support of the Ruby Princess crew.

You can watch Myrmell’s message below.

Featured image source: iStock.com/Photoservice


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