Cruise ships told to leave Australian waters to avoid repeat coronavirus 'fiasco'

CDC: Defer Cruise Travel; Inside the Princess Outbreak

Subsequent studies pegged the survival time for coronavirus on cardboard surfaces at up to 24 hours, and on stainless steel surfaces for days.

"Although these data can not be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces, further study of fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 aboard cruise ships is warranted".

The West Australia state government on Thursday said that nobody would be permitted to disembark the German-operated MV Artania after seven of 800 foreign passengers on board tested positive for COVID-19 unless there was a "life threatening emergency".

Cruise ships have become a flashpoint after 147 of 2700 passengers who were allowed to disembark from Carnival Corp's Ruby Princess later tested positive for COVID-19, a blunder that has highlighted official tensions in the handling of the crisis.

However, it is worth noting that finding the RNA of the virus does not necessarily mean that the virus spreads through surfaces.

"Transmission occurred across multiple voyages from ship to ship by crew members".

Now a study suggests the virus is capable of sticking to surfaces for longer than originally thought.

While it's possible to get the new virus by touching an infected object then touching your face, it's a respiratory illness, so it's primarily transmitted by inhaling droplets of it in the air after an infected person coughs or sneezes. "Now you're going to see 'coronavirus can live on surfaces for 17 days!' over and over, but we don't know that based on this study and for those using live virus, it's much shorter".

Federal border authorities have blamed NSW Health for the Ruby Princess cruise ship fiasco, arguing the department gave the key "green light" for disembarkation.

At one point, the Diamond Princess cruise liner was declared to have had the highest number of Covid-19 cases outside of China, with over 800 people on board infected.

Perth tourism pioneer James Kwan was the first Australian to be killed by the disease after he contracted the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan. The quarantine lasted almost a month.

One passenger, a 77-year-old woman, has since died.

Among 3,711 Diamond Princess passengers and crew, nearly a fifth have had positive test results for Covid-19. Nine people from the ship have died.

'The decision to allow them off in relation to the health and biosecurity issue was one of NSW Health, ' Mr Outram said.

They also emphasised that cruise ships "are often settings for outbreaks of infectious diseases" and should be avoided during the pandemic.

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