Police in Australia launch criminal probe into coronavirus-stricken ship

Apr 05 ,2020. 39 minutes ago – 21:53 KYODO NEWS

(The Ruby Princess)
[Anadolu Agency/Getty/Kyodo]

SYDNEY – Police in Australia’s state of New South Wales revealed Sunday their intention to launch a criminal investigation into how passengers were allowed to disembark last month from a cruise ship despite some showing flu-like symptoms.

In announcing the probe, Police Commissioner Mike Fuller said there were “many unanswered questions” regarding events surrounding the Ruby Princess

After the luxury cruise ship docked in Sydney on March 19, all 2,700 passengers were allowed to disembark, including 13 who had developed respiratory symptoms, according to local media.

As of Sunday, over 600 passengers of the vessel have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, of whom 11 have died. The ship remains anchored off the coast of Sydney with around 200 crew members on board showing coronavirus symptoms.

The Ruby Princess is operated by the same company the runs the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined near Tokyo in February and on which more than 700 were infected.

As of Sunday, there are 5,687 confirmed cases in Australia, with 34 fatalities, according to health authorities.