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Cruise ship passenger criticises lack of testing amid coronavirus outbreak

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On March 19 NSW Health allowed 2700 people to leave the Ruby Princess cruise ship before testing was completed.

The cruise ship first docked in Sydney on March 8 and was classified as ‘medium risk’. The ship then left for New Zealand with new passengers, returning to Sydney eleven days later and the ship downgraded to ‘low risk’.

The Australian journalist Yoni Bashan has been covering the story and he tells Alan Jones he is astounded at the way NSW Health is handling cruise ships amid this health crisis.

Mr Bashan says “If you know a ship is medium risk 11 days earlier, why would you downgrade it to low risk? And it turns out that’s the one that has coronavirus on board.”

Four cases were confirmed on the day the ship arrived. This number has now risen to 48 COVID-19 cases.

Mr Bashan says “We’re talking about thousands of people, first in the community who may have been exposed to a COVID-19 patient, or in the case of the Ruby Princess at least 4 COVID-19 patients.”

Ben Hardimon was a passenger on the Ruby Princess and tells Alan Jones there were no warnings on the ship or when disembarking.

Mr Hardimon says “We heard they were testing at random, but we were never approached.

“No passport checks, even the declaration cards were just snatched out of the hand. Straight on a shuttle bus, and two of the people on our shuttle bus have actually tested positive.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

Image: Getty/Anadolu Agency