Australia sends troops to help contain COVID-19 on ore ship near Port Hedland

SYDNEY: Australian defence personnel are being deployed to Port Hedland, one of the world's largest iron ore loading ports, to help contain a coronavirus outbreak on a bulk carrier that last changed crews in the major seafaring city of Manila.

Seventeen of the 21-crew members of the carrier have tested positive for the virus, ship owner Oldendorff Carriers said in a statement.



Ten of the infected crew have been moved to hotel quarantine while seven infected workers remain on board as part of an 11-person crew, authorities said.

Oldendorff said that the Manila crew change on Sep 5 complied with all protocols.

"All crew members tested negative for the virus before leaving the Philippines," Oldendorff said.

The ship, which was scheduled to collect manganese ore which is used in steel production, is anchored off Port Hedland on Australia's northwest coast.



Western Australia state contained the virus early in the pandemic by closing its international and domestic borders. It now bars cruise ship arrivals but allows export carriers and limited international air arrivals. All international arrivals in Australia face mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine.

Up to 10 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel were expected to be deployed to Port Hedland after a request for assistance from the state government, an ADF spokesman said in a statement.

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Australia's coronavirus hotspot state of Victoria on Tuesday (Sep 29) reported 10 new infections in the past 24 hours, turning around a second contagion wave that only last month was infecting more than 700 people every day.

The country's second most populous state has placed nearly 5 million residents of its capital Melbourne under one of the world's most stringent lockdowns since early August.

The state, which accounts for the bulk of the country's more than 27,Read More – Source